MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa — The Marshall County Courthouse was an iconic building in downtown Marshalltown. It was struck by a tornado on July 19, 2018. The spire was knocked off the top of the building, and the roof sustained heavy damage.
The Marshall County Supervisors had been planning to renovate the building anyway, so they took funds they saved, along with an insurance payment, and rolled the whole project into a $30 million dollar makeover.
“Today is a big step mentally and obviously in the construction of the courthouse but it’s a good day for the community to really see some great progress on the building,” said Lucas Baedke, Building Manager for Marshall County. “I never expected to do such a large renovation on this building I knew at some point we be doing something, I really thought it would be in stages and we were just kind of to shuffle offices around as we did it, but it’s been kind of all-at-once drop in your lap and do it.”
This day it took around 15 minutes to lift the dome into place, but it took all morning to prepare a giant crane to make the lift. Once up top workers had to spin the giant dome around to line it up so all points were facing the planned direction.
“The spire probably won’t go up for another three or four weeks after they put the dome up,“ said Baedke. “They will put scaffold around it and put the exterior panels on it once they get all the way up to the dome then I put the spire on and scaffold our way around the spire as well.”
Main street and other streets around the square were lined with people- trying to maintain social distance to watch this event.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Kevin Kirk of Marshalltown. “Its a historical building, its too bad it happened, but there’s a reason for everything.”
“A lot of people look at the courthouse as a historic thing, a lot of people come from all over to see it how pretty it is,” said Jackie Fiscus, of Marshalltown. “I wanted to get out of the house for a change, been cooped up with another month to go.”
The contractors will continue work on the project, hoping to complete the effort by Christmas.