Assistant Managing Editor
Renovations to the Auglaize County Courthouse are being recognized again with another historic preservation award from a state organization.
The courthouse has been named a recipient of the Preservation Merit Award from the Ohio Historic Preservation Office of the Ohio Historical Society.
Only five other courthouses in the state have received this award. Three are still in use as county courthouses, one as a federal courthouse and another as a museum, said Tom Wolf, a spokesman for the Ohio Historical Society. The last courthouses to receive the award, which has been awarded since 1983, did so in 2006.
Wolf said the Auglaize County Courthouse is a good example of how buildings can be reused.
“Part of the purpose of the award program is to recognize examples of good models for other communities,” Wolf said. “The Auglaize County Courthouse is a good example of how a courthouse can be used and adapted to a modern functional purpose and still maintain it’s character.”
Wolf said each year the Ohio Historic Preservation Office recognizes achievements in historic preservation by presenting the Preservation Merit Award as well as a Public Education and Awareness Award.
The Preservation Merit Award is for “preserving Ohio’s prehistory, history, architecture or culture,” according to the Ohio Historic Preservation Office’s website.
There were 19 nominees for the award this year, with not all recipients yet named and coming from throughout the state.
Auglaize County Administrator Mike Hensley and the commissioners plan to attend an awards luncheon at the German Village Meeting Haus, in Columbus, on Sept. 28, to accept the award. They along with Garmann-Miller & Associates architectural firm, in Minster, were honored with the award.
Commissioners have described the project as taking a 19th century building and making it into a 21st century building. They planned and saved for the project for nearly a decade and then coupled their savings with grant money for the $8.5 million project completed last fall without having to borrow any funds.
“We’re very proud of this honor,” Hensley said of the state award, “It shows it was a significant project that was well worth the effort put into it to maintain the courthouse’s historical significance while making it into a modern facility.
“Previous commissioners had the foresight to develop a long-term plan that was decades in the making to see this come to fruition,” he said.
Hensley said Auglaize County employees worked through the renovations and the citizens of Auglaize County should be proud and congratulated as well as the building was renovated with general fund dollars.
He said the application process was complex and included photos and a narrative.
Eligible activities to receive the award include, restoration, rehabilitation or otherwise preserving an important building or site, longtime stewardship of a property, promoting protective legislation, funding preservation projects, offering leadership or support, and furthering preservation at the local, regional or state level. People, organizations, businesses and public agencies are eligible for the awards.
Ten standards are to be met as part of the rehabilitation efforts, including the property being used for its historic purpose or a new use that requires minimal change, retaining and preserving the historic character of the property, the property should serve as a physical record of its time and use, preservation of distinctive features, repairing rather than replacing deteriorated historic features, no damage to historic materials, preservation of significant archeological resources, and no new construction destroying historic materials characterizing the property or if removed in future the integrity of historical building would remain.
Earlier this year, the project was recognized as best public project in the state for 2013 by Heritage Ohio, a statewide, non-profit preservation organization.