Matthew Renda

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July 10, 2013
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State and county to share cost of replacing Nevada City courthouse roof

The roof on the 148-year-old Nevada County Courthouse is scheduled to be replaced after springing multiple leaks over the past three to four years.

Nevada County and the California Administrative Office of the Courts will share the $90,000 tab in replacing the Art Deco building’s compromised covering after the Nevada County board of supervisors voted unanimously to approve the maintenance project during its regular meeting Tuesday.

The AOC will be on the hook for $49,500 and the county will pick up the remainder, according to the staff report.

The state agency’s recent noncommittal attitude toward renovation projects at the county’s courthouse prompted Supervisor Nate Beason to seek assurance from Nevada County Chief Information Officer Steve Monaghan that the state would not shirk its share of the bill.

“Is their commitment firm to their part of the funding on this thing?” Beason asked. “As you know, there is this whole nebulous, gray ephemeral area where they may or may not reconstruct the court in Nevada County. Is that going to deter them?”

Monaghan said the facilities maintenance division of the AOC will be responsible for the financial commitment, which is different from the capital improvement division of the AOC, which has wavered in its intent to perform a comprehensive overhaul of the downtown Nevada City structure.

“They’ve given us a written guarantee,” Monaghan said.

In 2010, the AOC approved a $108 million rebuild after the courthouse was deemed “unsafe, substandard, overcrowded and functionally deficient.”

Due to the state’s budget problems in subsequent years, support for the project was withdrawn, although never completely.

The reroofing project is yet another indication the renovation project may wait in the wings for several more years, the staff report states.

“Since the courts will continue to use this building in the near future, possibly five or more years, we are recommending the installation of a roof coating system,” the report states.

“The state has been a fickle partner, historically,” Beason said. “And I don’t want us to be holding the bag.”

In August of last year, a water leak interrupted court proceedings after a pinhole breach appeared in a copper hot water line above Department 2 of the courthouse’s newer wing, which was constructed in the early 1960s.

The leak caused damage to a courtroom ceiling tile, according to previous reports.

Nevada City officials have consistently lobbied for the courthouse to remain downtown on Church Street, the site of the current facility.

Other options called for the courthouse to be relocated at sites away from downtown Nevada City, such as near the Rood Center on Maidu Avenue, where the county’s administrative offices are housed.

Any plans for an upgrade ground to a halt amid California’s budget woes, which pushed the AOC to re-evaluate its 38 statewide projects.

In April 2012, Nevada County’s courthouse was designated to be “reassessed” for cost-cutting measures.

A subsequent scathing report in May 2012 that described the AOC as dysfunctional and in need of an overhaul further stamped out renovation hopes for Nevada City’s courthouse.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email or 530-477-4239. Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker contributed to this report.

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The Union Updated Jul 11, 2013 01:21AM Published Jul 13, 2013 12:21AM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.