With assessment of past repairs on tower complete, crews ready to return to job
Restoration work is scheduled to resume next month on the Ozaukee County courthouse clock tower after a consultant completed its assessment of past work that could lead to litigation.
During its $300,000 repair project, Marion Restoration of Chicago found cracks where there shouldn’t be any.
That led the county’s Executive Committee to meet several times in closed session regarding the workmanship of a company that worked on the structure years ago.
The committee halted work on the repair project and hired a consultant to check out the past work.
County Administrator Tom Meaux said officials are waiting for the final report from the consultant.
“We’re going to aggressively pursue a claim of some sort if we have cause to do so,” he said.
As repair work resumes, Meaux said, steps will be taken to prevent water from getting into the brick and mortar joints, which should make for a sturdier tower.
Meaux said he hopes the project will be completed this fall. The original goal was to have the work done by last winter.
Work started after the county commissioned a study of the tower by Preserve Design Studio of Whitefish Bay, and last July approved a $300,000 transfer from the capital projects reserve fund to pay for the work.
The study showed four columns on the tower sustained significant damage from lightning strikes and the elements. Mortar on each of the column caps is decomposed, with voids so deep that the mortar could be compromised in some places, according to the report.
Marion Restoration is rebuilding the columns, repairing fractures in the stone and installing joints that allow for movement of the tower caused by strong winds. A lightning protection system will also be installed.
Built in 1901 and 1902, the Romanesque-style building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It housed the county’s circuit courts until they moved to the adjoining Administration Center after it was built in 1969.
Known as the historic courthouse, the building houses administrative offices and the county board room.