Comal County Courthouse restoration wins statewide award

Posted by on Dec 6, 2013 in Journal | No Comments
County Judge Sherman Krause and architect Tere O'Connell accept an award from Preservation Texas for Best Restoration, 2013.

County Judge Sherman Krause and architect Tere O’Connell accept an award from Preservation Texas for Best Restoration, 2013.

Last night Preservation Texas honored the Comal County Courthouse with an Honor Award for Best Restoration, 2013. After years of additions and remodelings, this J. Riely Gordon courthouse has been fully restored to its 1898 construction date.

This project developed over the course of several years, beginning with a feasibility study commissioned by the County to determine whether the courthouse should be restored with the help of state grant funding or repaired using all county funds. The study, completed by Volz & Associates in 2004, determined that even with grant assistance it would likely cost more to restore the courthouse than to make basic and necessary repairs and replace the air conditioning system.  The County voted to proceed with the restoration, recognizing that this approach provided greater long term value to the community.

The next step was to create a master plan for the restoration in order to qualify for state restoration grant funding through the Texas Historical Commission.  The approved master plan included historical research, documentation of existing conditions, identification of code compliance concerns (both in terms of life safety and accessibility), a restoration program, and an opinion of probable costs. The County went a step further, by approving the funds necessary to develop plans and specifications for the restoration in preparation for the grant application.  The project was approved for grant funding through the THC in January, 2010, and the project was in construction by November of that year.

The courthouse restoration includes the full restoration of the original and unique interior paint colors from the Colonial Revival palette, the unique tiger-stripe japanned finish of the hardware, the colorful geometric and encaustic tile floors, and the authentic reproduction of the textured wallpaper frieze in the District Courtroom. Exterior work includes the removal of a skybridge and 2 building additions, and the reconstruction of the north wall with stone salvaged from the additions.  and the new full-size basement that discretely houses the new building systems.

The project was rededicated in a ceremony marking the 114th anniversary of this beautiful courthouse.  This Texas treasure is ready for another century under Comal County’s continued and very capable stewardship.

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