06/04/07 — Courthouse repairs begin today

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Courthouse repairs begin today

By Lee Williams
Published in News on June 4, 2007 1:45 PM

If you have to go to court this week, leave a little early.

The William Street entrance to the Wayne County Courthouse will remain closed as crews work to repair damaged portions of the facade today, Tuesday and Wednesday, said Brant Brown, county maintenance director.

"We hope to have the entrance open on the east side on Friday providing there are no setbacks or bad rain," Brown said.

Once panels on the east side entrance are repaired, crews are expected to fix other panels on the clock tower. The additional repair work could take about three months to complete, he added.

"Some areas may be blocked off due to construction," Brown said.

Neal Weeks Construction of Goldsboro has been tapped to complete the $90,000 repair job.

Fiberglass paneling from the clock tower cracked and fell May 11 as jets practiced for the Wings Over Wayne Air Show. Other portions painted to look like concrete were shaken loose, but did not fall.

A woman had just entered the courthouse when a piece of the fiberglass paneling from the roof area crashed to the ground at about 11:15 a.m., a courthouse security guard said.

A building and maintenance official said the vibration of the jets caused a portion of the courthouse to fall.

No one was hurt, but crews closed off a section of the William Street entrance as a safety precaution.

The entrance has remained closed for three weeks. Traffic was rerouted to the Ormond Avenue entrance causing some to scramble to get to their destinations on time.

The courthouse includes a number of agencies including the district attorney's office, child support enforcement, tax assessor's office, register of deeds, the clerk of court's office, Wayne County Sheriff's Office financial crimes unit, county manager's office as well as several courtrooms.

Brown said the county planned to set aside funds to make repairs to the 13-year-old building. However, the May 11 incident, which Brown said resulted from "age and the sun," urged the county to act.

"It's in the 2007-08 budget, but we're going to find the money to do it now," he said.

Brown did not specify where the money would come from. It also was unclear if the money reshuffle would cause a shortfall in another area.