Renovations on Logan County’s historic courthouse, which began in the fall of last year, are now complete and have cost the taxpayers just “a little less than $600,000,” says Logan County Judge Executive Logan Chick.
When it was announced that Logan would be among 18 counties selected to receive a new Justice Center, it forced the county government to start thinking about what it would do with one of its oldest landmarks now that the majority of its space was vacant, leaving only the judge executives offices.
The courthouse has been a center point for the community since its construction in 1904, surviving numerous changes and a few threats of destruction. Chick says the courthouse actually suffered from a bomb soon after it was built. Tearing down the old building has never been more than a fleeting thought as many have come out to save it in the past and would more than likely do so again.
Before the new Justice Center was built, the county received funding annually from the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) to help with maintaining the courthouse. However, when the judicial branches left the old for the new, so did those funds of approximately $150,000. Leasing out space in the historic courthouse became the common goal of the fiscal court to help subsidize the missing funding. This put the court on a fast track to renovating the structure, as the bathrooms were very outdated and the elevator needed an overhaul. The court could have never imagined once they began the project, the other, very costly things that would need to be dealt with.
When preparing the old building for newcomers, the project became somewhat of an albatross, as costs for renovations continued to climb. What started out as replacing some flooring, painting and making the bathrooms bigger, turned into chiseling out what seemed to be solid rock underneath the elevator, putting in new piping for the HVAC system throughout the entire building, and installing new carpet in the large courtroom. Before long, the small project turned into a massive overhaul leaving magistrates frustrated at facing new costs around every turn.
“I feel like this is something that had to be done. It was a necessity to do it if we were going to rent the building out,” said Judge Chick. “People asked about the restrooms and handicap accessibility and if they could use the meeting room. It was real important these things were done.”
Fiscal Court has leased out space to the County Attorney’s Office, Logan’s Child Support Division and the Logan County Tourist Commission. The could receives $32,000 a year from these deals.
Chick says the Kentucky Association of Counties (KACo) believes Logan County could be an example of how to turn an empty building into profit. “They said there are a lot of empty courthouses across the state that could do the same as Logan County by renting their empty space,” said Chick.
There is still space available to lease at the courthouse.