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Marshall County Courthouse Iconic Dome Pieces Arrive in Marshalltown

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MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa -- City officials say the Marshall County Courthouse renovation is coming along well after a tornado ripped through the middle of town, badly damaging it last year.

The Marshall County Courthouse is more than 100 years old and the last renovation was in the 1970’s.

“This is a multi-million dollar renovation made possible by the fact we had it well insured for replacement costs. The county had no debt. So they had some money available to not just repair it, but fix it up really nice. It will be the best courthouse in the state,” Marshalltown Mayor Joel Greer said.

County leaders said the whole project costs about $27 million and once it’s finished there will be more space for offices, it will be more secure and truly be a modern courthouse in function.

“We’ve increased courtroom sizes, we've increased public queuing spaces. We've made way finding through the building a little more easy. It's not as fragmented up as much as it used to be. So we put a lot of work into planning,” Buildings and Grounds Director Lucas Baedke said.

On Wednesday, construction crews received the second half of the iconic dome made of steel. Baedke said the brand new dome skeleton will hold up a lot better than the previous wooden dome put on in the 1970's.

“It was too large to ship as one piece. So they built it, cut in half, they'll put it back together, square everything up on the lawn. They will skin it basically make it watertight. Test fit all the panels on it to actually take that back apart. They'll send all the exterior panels out to be wrapped in copper,” Baedke said.

After that, they will lift the dome skeleton onto the top of the courthouse and then put the panels in place.

Baedke said following this renovation it will be stronger than ever and they hope it will last for decades to come.

“We're really trying to expand on how things were built previously. Really increase our structural integrity of the building. It's kind of a common thought process behind everything. We're really looking for 100 year fixes for stuff. So we'd like to have this building standing for, you know, as long as it has been here which is 132 years,” Baedke said.

County officials said they don't have a scheduled completion date yet, but they hope the dome will go up some time in October.

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