Northumberland County Courthouse

The Northumberland County Courthouse as seen in a 2018 file photo.

SUNBURY — Northumberland County officials expect the results of a $47,000 feasibility study to rehabilitate the nearly 155-year-old Northumberland County Courthouse to be finished within five weeks.

The county last year was awarded a $23,500 Keystone Historic Preservation grant through the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) that required a matching $23,500 from the county. The county also plans to apply for a $100,000 PHMC grant toward construction costs for the structure by March 2.

"Aside from being a public facility, the courthouse is an invaluable historical resource for the county and the entire area," said planning and economic development coordinator Justin Skavery.

The first day of court was held Aug. 6, 1866. The county courthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on Dec. 30, 1974.

Keystone Historic Preservation grants are awarded by PHMC to fund preservation, rehabilitation and restoration activities of historic sites that are eligible for or listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Eligible applicants include non-profit entities or municipal governments that operate publicly accessible historic properties.

The study is being conducted by McKissick Associates Architects, of Harrisburg. The plan will help county officials create a plan for the rehabilitation of the building, Skavery said.

Two weeks ago, Skavery said the McKissick and subcontractor Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson, of Maryland, used 3D laser scanning technology to map out the entire building inside and out and identify problem areas.

"Every room, every courtroom, the basement, every nook and cranny was mapped out," said Skavery.

The county in March 2018 applied for but did not receive a construction grant from PHMC because the organization said "there was more wrong with the building than just the facade," said Skavery.

At that time, an initial report showed that existing balconette stone components and stone pieces around it should be removed and replaced with new components. A crack in the brick wall above the rosette window caused by a shift needs to be repaired because water is coming in, and the wall needs to be stabilized, according to the report.

County Commissioner Chairman Sam Schiccatano said the courthouse rehabilitation will be the largest project in the county over the next four years.

"We'll be able to go back and see what we can do when that study comes forward," Schiccatano said. "There are issues. One of them is the front facade. Over the many many years it's been there, it's been pulling away from the front of the building."

Part of the floor is uneven as well, he said.

Schiccatano said he doesn't know what the cost will be, but there is money left over from the prison project loan and money from a $1.5 million sale of county land in Coal Township.

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