Assistant Managing Editor
Auglaize County Courthouse renovations earned a recognition Thursday with a state award as the “Best Public Project” for 2013.
During a ceremony in Columbus, Heritage Ohio, a statewide, non-profit preservation organization, recognized not only the Auglaize County commissioners, but architects Garmann-Miller & Associates, general contractor Peterson Construction, plumbers JMC Mechanical, Koester Electric, structural engineers Shell & Meyer Associates, and HVAC contractor Perfection Group, for their work in preserving the building built in 1894.
Heritage Ohio’s Annual Revitalization and Preservation Awards Ceremony was held in conjunction with the organization’s annual statewide conference.
In recognizing efforts made to restore and preserve the Auglaize County Courthouse, Heritage Ohio Executive Director Joyce Barrett said the commissioners planned for and worked toward the historic renovation of the nearly 120-year-old county courthouse for 10 years.
“The process involved the challenging notion of converting such a well-seasoned building into the modern, very functional, secure and comfortable facility it has become, while preserving the building’s rich historic architecture,” Barrett said. “The team of architects, administrators, technicians, engineers, construction specialists, historic preservationists and artisans worked in a coordinated and complementary fashion to successfully renovate the courthouse into the singularly beautiful and practical building it is today.”
Heritage Ohio Revitalization Associate Director Frank Quinn said they were happy to have a courthouse win after the demolition of the Seneca County Courthouse.
“Plus, the restoration looks amazing,” Quinn said.”We always like to see buildings retrofitted for modern uses, while retaining their historic elements, and it certainly appears this project succeeded at that.”
The $8.5 million Auglaize County Courthouse project was completed last fall without the county borrowing any money. The commissioners spent nearly a decade prior to the work planning and saving for the project.
“One of the main objectives of the renovations was to preserve as much of the building back to its original state as possible,” Commissioner Doug Spencer said when the courthouse was reopened.
He said keeping the courthouse’s history in tact was important, but the building also had to be updated to meet current needs.
Commissioner Don Regula said the renovations restored an old building and brought it into the 21st Century, with new technology that is expected to take it many years into the future.
After receiving the award, Regula said the recognition meant a lot, but it wasn’t for the commissioners, it was for the residents of Auglaize County.
“It’s their building,” Regula said.“It means a lot to be able to preserve something as beautiful as the courthouse and I glad we did it.
“Commissioners years ago started thinking about and planning this,” he said. “It was a long, long time planning.”
Projects completed between Jan. 1, 2011, and Dec. 31, 2012, were eligible for the award, which took into account the project’s size and location, history, costs, funding sources, historical significance, and before and after conditions. The award was to recognize an organization or municipality that partnered and leveraged resources to complete a project with a positive, lasting impact in the community, with priority given to preservation-based projects.
Many communities, organizations and individuals submitted nominations for consideration, with an increased number of nominations this year, according to Heritage Ohio. Awards were presented in several categories recognizing a variety of different projects throughout the state.