Gary Bates, the masonry restoration foreman for the project, said work on the building has progressed nicely and could be completed in two months.
“We are cleaning the exterior masonry, cutting out and replacing the mortar and patching or replacing any stone. We will also water-seal it when we are done. If everything goes well, we should be finished in about two months,” Bates said. “Some blocks had to be taken down and re-laid. Some were crumbling apart and had to be replaced. The chimneys had to be removed down to the roofline.”
Harlan County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop said the structure was in need of the restoration.
“We had to rework the stones because they were starting to come loose and fall. As it turned out, we had loose stones that were high up,” he said.
“I am very pleased with the look of the building at this point. After we took away the large trees and exposed the building’s fine beauty, it has taken on a new look. When the outside is completed, we will have a beautiful building.”
Grieshop said there are still some minor issues with the building that need attention.
“We still have a few issues with the upper guttering system because of some issues of some of the wood not being strong enough and some old issues. So we have had our architect take a look at that and see what move we need to take next,” he said. “We don’t want the building to be fixed and not be done in absolutely the best possible way.”
Grieshop said the masonry work will include the steps of the facility and added that he hopes to upgrade the inside of the building after the exterior is completed.
“The stonework will also include doing the steps so the surface of the steps will look good. We will come in and do more windows later on, and the building from the outside will be restored. At that time, we will begin working more intensely on the inside to get more of the offices updated,” he said.