Decatur County Courthouse roof on second phase of renovations to protect Bainbridge landmark

Published 4:59 pm Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Decatur County Courthouse is one of Bainbridge’s most identifiable landmarks. The Board of Commissioners and other passionate workers are seeing that it stays that way for generations to come.

The second phase of restoring the Decatur County Courthouse’s roof began Monday. Two years ago this April, the courthouse received a heavy pressure-washing, new coats of paint and repairs on the flat roof buildings connected to the main courthouse.

Now the main building, the portion that houses the courthouse, is getting major roof repairs. Underneath the old slate shingles is rotten wood that is getting pulled up as well. Too many years of neglected maintenance have deteriorated the inside of the historical building.

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As Decatur County Clerk of Courts Cecilia Willis said two years ago, the goal is to keep the outside from getting inside. This next phase is another step in that direction. Willis is one of the passionate ones who sees the building as more than just a courthouse.

“Because it’s history,” Willis said. “It’s our history, and it houses our history.”

After a roof repairs, the gutters and windows are next. Decatur County maintenance worker James Coddington will lead the project of removing the current rotten frames on the windows and rebuilding them completely. Other plans include renovating the inside aesthetics in the clerk’s office and a paint job throughout the whole building.

Willis even has details in mind like hanging photos of the original Decatur County Board of Commissioners in the main lobby, a group of men whose names appear on the outside cornerstones of the courthouse facing West and Water streets. After all, they are the ones responsible for getting the courthouse built, and Willis believes they should be honored.

Like that original county commission, Willis is pleased with how much support the current Board of Commissioners have given the project.

“We have a group of likeminded people moving in the right direction,” Willis said.

Roof repairs are being done by New South Roofing, and the total price of fixing the roof and gutters will be around $179,000. Decatur County Administrator Alan Thomas is fully on board with the renovations and repairs.

“It is extremely important,” Thomas said. “That is an over 100-year-old courthouse and it deserves to be taken care of.”