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A new look

Courtroom renovations expected to be completed by mid-September

LAURA JAMESON/THE EXPRESS Employees from Avis-based company Wheary Inc. continue renovations on the second floor of the Clinton County Courthouse.

LOCK HAVEN — There’s a lot of updates underway inside the Clinton County Courthouse.

Contractors from Wheary Inc. and Turnkey Electric have been hard at work in the large courtroom and entryway with renovations since early this summer.

So far they’ve painted the ornate ceiling a cream color with gold and red accents and are beginning to paint the walls with a golden brown and tan.

New paint and updated carpeting of the space isn’t all that’s coming.

Court Adminstrator Don Powers explained the project also includes a new jury box and judge’s bench.

LAURA JAMESON/THE EXPRESS Wheary Inc. employee Mike Brumbaugh cleans off an example of what the floor will look like after it’s buffed and treated.

The bench will remain in its usual place in front of a mural — created by the Daughters of the American Revolution decades prior — while the jurors’ box will have a new home.

The box, which will include a handicap accessible area, will be placed on the opposite side of the room on the Jay Street side of the building, Powers said.

“We’ve had a lot of complaints from jurors about having to walk by the defendant with the box where it is,” he said. The move will enable jurors to enter the courtoom and walk right to the box on their left.

Along with the removal of wire molding and updated wiring for the lighting fictures, faux columns will be installed between the large windows in the courtroom. And they won’t just be decoration.

“They’re sound dampening so it doesn’t echo as much in here,” Powers said. “It’s a foam material hidden behind a fabric cover so the sound doesn’t bounce back.”

The pillars will also act as wire chasers for the speakers installed in the room, he added.

Powers hopes the pillars will cut down on the echo and enable the court to turn up their speakers to make it easier for everyone in the room to hear the proceedings.

The total cost for the project is $328,090 consisting of $288,215 to Wheary Inc. and $39,875 to Turnkey Electric.

Outside of the courtroom, its entryway is receiving some upgrades, too.

The walls and ceiling have been repainted and the original wood flooring will be buffed and treated.

The second set of stairs that leads to the second floor are being renovated with plans to open them up to traffic in the future, Powers said.

The project should be completed by mid-September, in time for planned jury selection with social distancing requirements in place, he said.

The Clinton County Courthouse is considered a historic landmark. The over 150-year-old building has been a staple of Lock Haven and the county since 1867.

The building houses the county’s court system including the prothonotary’s office, sheriff’s department and district attorney’s offices.

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