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January 2, 2013

Remodeling of courthouse nears completion

CULLMAN — Renovations to the Cullman County Courthouse continue to inch closer to the finish line.

Though work to improve the exterior of the building is complete, there are still a few items on the to-do list before closing the book on the project, according to Cullman County Chairman Kenneth Walker.

The main thing left? Landscaping.

"We're going to put some trees and shrubs out, and also put a new sprinkler system in," Walker said. "It won't look like the same place once it’s all finished."

He added there are also plans to pave the north and east parking lots.

"We had planned to have that done by now, but due to the weather we decided to hold off on that," Walker said. "So we're going to wait until after the landscaping is complete to do that."

The long-planned $1.4 million exterior renovation project, which began in Oct. of 2011, has involved the removal of the building's white Sylacauga marble exterior facade and replacing it with red brick. In addition, the entire building has gotten modern windows with a higher insulation rating, which is expected to help lower its overall utility cost.

During the last county commission meeting, the commission voted to ratify the contract for the electrical work on the building.

"This is for putting in electrical outlets all around the courthouse, as well as for the lighting in front, and the replacement of the clock," county administrator Gary Teichmiller said.

Currently, the old clock is displayed on the wall outside of the commission meting room. A photo of the marble-clad courthouse, dedicated on July 3, 1965, serves as the background for the piece. Meanwhile, the clock face is stopped at 2:54 p.m., marking the time when a tornado struck the building on April 27, 2011.

Walker said bids to complete the landscape project would open Jan. 7. If all goes well, a dedication ceremony will be held this spring.

* Ashley Graves can be reached by phone at 734-2131, ext. 225, or by email at agraves@cullmantimes.com

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