Repairing courthouse no easy task


Anthony DeHart and Dave Miller were hard at work late Thursday afternoon more than 160 feet above downtown London.

The crane holding the basket they were standing in topped almost 200 feet with a massive steel cable holding the basket aloft.

For a week they have been working to repair and paint the Madison County Courthouse clock tower and steeple. In all, about eight workers with Allstate Exteriors have been working both inside and out to repair the massive structure, according to owner Joe Mullins.

On a tour of the vast inside of the courthouse’s interior and what work is being done in the upper areas, London Mayor Patrick Closser, County Engineer Bryan Dhume and members of the media saw first-hand all the work being done by Mullins’ company since they started last week.

“We’ve moved quite a ways on the project. We’ve gotten a lot of the leaks sealed up, getting a lot of the emergency repairs done,” Mullins said.

“Right now we are on a good pace to be dried in before winter gets here.”

At the very top of the historic building, the workers take their time in the large metal basket repairing damage from years of weather. It is all metal.

Mullins said some of the seams have come loose and “we are riveting the seams back together. We are using a mesh coating, and also installing some new metal.”

They will be working next on the many leaks and patches on the lower roof.

There is no estimate on a completion date yet because, “right now we are just dealing with emergency repairs,” according to Mullins.

What has been the London-based company’s challenges so far? “The weather is definitely a challenge. On a project like this you always find something new and other things you find then become an emergency. We are dealing now with the highest end of the steeple. That is our main focus. We will be done up there on Friday,” he said.

Working on a building that is open to the public and also highly visible have been challenges, as well. “Just that it is in the public eye, and trying to make everyone happy. It is a public building and you have a lot of people there. That’s the toughest part. The construction work isn’t tough; that’s what we deal with every single day. This building belongs to everyone in the county, so that makes it a little bit tough,” he said.

Has it been a challenge working while the building has been open for regular county business? “We have worked through that. It was a bit of a challenge in the beginning. Now, not so much.”

During the tour of all the repairs being done, Mullins talked about how thrilled he is to be working on the historic Madison County Courthouse. His business has been in London since 2006.

“(Another building project) had a lot of history and was a neat old building, but it was nothing like this. There is no comparison,” he pointed out.

Taking the group of officials and media out on a roof about half way up the courthouse building, Mullins pointed out how the many leaks developed.

Walking over to one of the columns that appeared concrete, he rapped his knuckles on it, and it gave out a distinct metal ring. “People think this is all concrete, but it is not. It is all sheet metal. You look everywhere, and look at this, this is definitely a leak,” pointing to a place near the column. “You know water gets in there. We can and will seal it from the outside, but this is one of the reasons we seal it from the inside, too.”

Mullins said that at this point, all they are doing is repairing the roof leaks and restoring the steeple of the tower to, eventually, its original copper color. “Until all the leaks are stopped, that is the only focus right now.”

He had high praise for county officials. “It’s been very good working with the county. They’ve been great, the commissioners have been great. Everyone at the courthouse have been very understanding. It’s been a cool project to work on. Not everyone gets a chance to work on a building like this,” he pointed out.

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Allstate Exterior workers do repair work on the steeple of the Madison County Courthouse Thursday morning.
http://www.madison-press.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2017/08/web1_Courthouseclockscrapepiccol.jpgAllstate Exterior workers do repair work on the steeple of the Madison County Courthouse Thursday morning. Jeff Gates | The Madison Press

The two workers direct the basket attached to the crane closer to the top to the steeple Thursday afternoon — about 166 feet above downtown London.
http://www.madison-press.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2017/08/web1_Clocktowertwopiccol.jpgThe two workers direct the basket attached to the crane closer to the top to the steeple Thursday afternoon — about 166 feet above downtown London. Gary Brock | The Madison Press

Inside the clock dome, Allstate Exteriors owner Joe Mullins talks to London Mayor Pat Closser and Madison County Engineer Bryan Dhume about some of the repair issues they are facing, and some of the things they have found that needs to be repaired — especially leaks.
http://www.madison-press.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2017/08/web1_Insideclockpiccol.jpgInside the clock dome, Allstate Exteriors owner Joe Mullins talks to London Mayor Pat Closser and Madison County Engineer Bryan Dhume about some of the repair issues they are facing, and some of the things they have found that needs to be repaired — especially leaks. Gary Brock | The Madison Press

London Mayor Pat Closser examines the clock tower bell inside the Madison County Courthouse Thursday morning during a tour of the interior of the Courthouse building repair work.
http://www.madison-press.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2017/08/web1_Mayorandbellpiccol.jpgLondon Mayor Pat Closser examines the clock tower bell inside the Madison County Courthouse Thursday morning during a tour of the interior of the Courthouse building repair work. Gary Brock | The Madison Press

During a tour of the work in progress Thursday morning, Allstate Exteriors owner Joe Mullins, at left, shows Madison County Engineer Bryan Dhume several places on the County Courthouse lower roof where leaks are clearly visible.
http://www.madison-press.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2017/08/web1_MullinsandDhumepiccol.jpgDuring a tour of the work in progress Thursday morning, Allstate Exteriors owner Joe Mullins, at left, shows Madison County Engineer Bryan Dhume several places on the County Courthouse lower roof where leaks are clearly visible. Gary Brock | The Madison Press

Photographed from above in the crane basket, the completed work on the steeple can be seen.
http://www.madison-press.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2017/08/web1_Nearlycompletedsteeplepiccol.jpgPhotographed from above in the crane basket, the completed work on the steeple can be seen. Contributed photo

Workers repair the metal seams on the Madison County Courthouse steeple Thursday afternoon.
http://www.madison-press.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2017/08/web1_Sheetmetalpiccol.jpgWorkers repair the metal seams on the Madison County Courthouse steeple Thursday afternoon. Contributed photo

Worker Dave Miller in the basket high above downtown London communicates with fellow Allstate Exterior employees on the ground below as he works on the top of the Madison County Courthouse steeple.
http://www.madison-press.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2017/08/web1_Workerinbasketpiccol.jpgWorker Dave Miller in the basket high above downtown London communicates with fellow Allstate Exterior employees on the ground below as he works on the top of the Madison County Courthouse steeple. Contributed photo

By Friday evening, the top of the Madison County Courthouse building was a bright copper color.
http://www.madison-press.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2017/08/web1_Coppersteeplepiccol.jpgBy Friday evening, the top of the Madison County Courthouse building was a bright copper color. Contributed photo

By Gary Brock

gbrock@aimmediamidwest.com

Reach General Manager/Editor Gary Brock at 937-556-5759.

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Video Caption: Work progressing on the Madison County Courthouse building in downtown London.

Video Credit: Gary Brock video

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