The project began with an existing facilities analysis primarily focusing on moisture issues, a full analysis of the facility and the planning of a multi-phased project incorporating the courthouse and the majority of an adjacent block of historic buildings. The exterior of the building was completed as the first phase – mitigating the moisture issues. The rehabilitation of the adjacent historic structures was completed next, allowing a portion of the courthouse to be vacated so that the historic Courtroom could be completed as the next phase. The courtroom was reconfigured to provide a successful functional relationship between the working areas of the court and the back court areas containing the judges’ chambers, law library, jury room, holding cell and witness rooms. Grant writing assistance resulted in an additional $450k in funding assistance.
At the exterior, the rich glazed terracotta detailing was severely deteriorated, along with the metal soffit details and terracotta roofing. The arch topped courtroom windows had been covered with vinyl siding and many of the other existing wood windows were in poor condition. At the interior, much of the original materials and elements remained, but had been covered. Dropped acoustic tile ceilings had been added throughout most of the building, including the courtroom, along with veneer paneling over the walls.
During this project the exterior glazed terracotta was fully restored, requiring recasting of several pieces. The metal cornice was restored along with the original wood windows. A new roof was installed, including the front balcony. The grand front porch steps were restored including removal of the non-original brick finish and providing new handrails and light standards. The interior court spaces were restored to their original character. The tall arched windows were uncovered, and the court and back court layouts were returned to their original configurations with the judge facing south. The dropped ceiling was removed exposing the original decorative plaster ceiling, wall, decorative trims and other finishes. Elements from the original balustrade were found, replicated and reinstalled at the jury box, judge’s bench, witness stand and dividing rail between court and public areas. New pews in character with the original balustrade were designed and installed. The outline of an original cartouche was uncovered over the judges, replicated and reinstalled in the same location. The original “Back Court” areas were also restored incorporating new heating and air systems, electrical systems and other modern necessities while maintaining the character and original finishes of the space.
Client: City of Pontotoc
Date Completed: 2006