Now that the new courtroom is in use, the next phase of the McDowell County courthouse renovation project is getting rid of the old windows and installing modern ones.
Recently, workers were busy smashing out the old big windows on the front of the McDowell courthouse in downtown Marion. The sound of breaking glass could be heard along Main Street. The plan is to replace all of the windows in the courthouse, which was completed in 1923.
The modern windows will help give the old building a new look and while also making it more energy efficient. They can help cut down the costs of cooling and heating, said county officials.
Late last month, the new courtroom for Superior Court was inaugurated by judges, county officials, court officials, District Attorney Ted Bell, Sheriff Ricky Buchanan, city of Marion officials and local lawyers. This new section is the home for the Superior Court in McDowell. The old upstairs courtroom, where the big windows are not being replaced, will become the new location for District Court.
Beam Construction is the general contractor completing all the renovations at the courthouse. Along with the new courtroom and windows, the overall $7.4 million project will include the replacement of the heating and cooling systems with modern and efficient components. There are other improvements planned such as new ceilings, updated carpeting and lighting in offices and the relocation of a lower level restroom in the courthouse.
“New updated air conditioning and heating systems will provide much better controlled environment and state-of-the-art efficiency with natural gas hot water boilers and eliminate the old style fuel oil heat system that generated heat through steam radiators,” said Public Services Director Terry DePoyster.
The exterior of the courthouse will be pressure washed and the outside brick will be sealed. The parking deck for the County Administration Building, completed in 1976, is being repaired to eliminate leaks the white exterior walls will be cleaned and painted. Another goal is to move the District Attorney’s office into the section of the courthouse formerly used by the Register of Deeds, which has since moved to a building on Fort Street.
“We are about 60% through the total construction and renovation project,” said DePoyster this week.