Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

March 12, 2014

Damage control time for courthouse

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat

bporterfield@pvdemocrat.com — Garvin County officials are still in damage control mode as even more leaking into the courthouse building has them looking for some quick answers.

During a regular meeting Monday all three county commissioners made it clear this is an emergency situation that needs problems fixed fast.

“What we want is for a general contractor to come in and we can show them the problems,” District 3 Commissioner Johnny Mann said.

“They come up with ideas, quotes, whatever to fix it,” he said. “We have a punch list of what we’re wanting done.”

It was back on Thursday, Feb. 27 when county employees working in the courthouse building in Pauls Valley discovered the major water damage.

Damage was sustained to the top two floors when a coil in a large air conditioning unit broke just above the ceiling tiles in the court clerk’s office on the courthouse’s third floor.

It’s believed the coil froze up causing it to break, while at the same time water continued to be pumped through the A/C unit. That caused water to spew throughout that office resulting in much of the floor being covered in water.

The water then spread to the large district courtroom, hallways and parts of the offices of two judges.

Water then escaped to outside the building and into parts of the second floor with damages reported in the offices of the county clerk and treasurer.

Most of the same day was spent by several working to get the flooded water out of the building.

“Contractors will need to understand a lot of this will have to be done after 4:30 (in the afternoon) and on weekends,” Mann said.

“We can’t shut it down,” he said about the courthouse. “So that’s part of the deal.”

Assistant District Attorney Carol Dillingham advised commissioners this type of situation allows them to move quickly to get the problems addressed.

“You can suspend the full-on bidding process because of the emergency situation,” Dillingham said.

“Since this is an emergency situation you can get phone quotes. You need at least two, three would be better,” she added.

Work to dry out the building continued throughout last week as fans and dehumidifiers were used.

That effort became tougher when even more water leaked into parts of the third and second floors over this past weekend.

Some are speculating this new round was caused by water leaking into the courthouse from the ice melting on the building’s roof.

Whatever the cause, water also got down into the county clerk’s office as some land records were again moved to avoid damage.

“We still have some hot spots,” Mann said. “That’s what we call the wet spots.”

Damage has been reported to several areas, including the rotunda area between the two floors, a counter and floor in the county clerk’s office, counter in treasurer’s office, a door in the court clerk’s office and an entire office space for a judge’s bailiff.

Carpet in the courthouse’s large courtroom will likely be replaced, along with various ceiling tiles.