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More problems at county buildings as facility spending looms

St. Joseph County Courthouse
St. Joseph County Courthouse

St. Joseph County Commissioners Tuesday closed the County-City Building and three courthouses again after a water pipe burst.

The closure comes not long after commissioners closed the buildings for the same reason.

The burst water pipe, in a second-floor courtroom in the main courthouse, sent water through the ceiling of the floor below. Water service then had to be shut off in the adjoining 14-story County-City Building and the other two courthouses, says Commissioners President Carl Baxmeyer.

In mid-January, commissioners closed the buildings for two days when a pipe burst in Courthouse 3, flooding the lobby. The next day they announced the County-City Building also would close because the heat had gone out.

Baxmeyer says the County-City Building had two other watermain breaks last year that didn’t require the building to be closed. He says the problems underscore the county’s need to make significant investments in the buildings.

"It just speaks to the age of the building and the age of the infrastructure," Baxmeyer said. "This break, as the two last year, were in a galvanized pipe that has just reached the end of its useful life. It's corroding."

After those January incidents, Baxmeyer said consultants within a week or so would present, at a commissioner’s meeting, a facilities condition study they commissioned last year. Baxmeyer Tuesday said that presentation has been delayed as the consultants wanted to factor the buildings’ January problems into their scenarios.

Baxmeyer says the consultants could present the studies at the March 19 meeting.

"So it will be interesting to present that and work with the council on deciding which options to pursue."



Parrott, a longtime public radio fan, comes to WVPE with about 25 years of journalism experience at newspapers in Indiana and Michigan, including 13 years at The South Bend Tribune. He and Kristi live in Granger and have two children currently attending Indiana University in Bloomington. In his free time he enjoys fixing up their home, following his favorite college and professional sports teams, and watching TV (yes that's an acceptable hobby).