Best Government/Public Building: Historic Redo Brings 1891 Courthouse Back to Life
A $55-million restoration of the historic Pinal County courthouse in Florence, Ariz., has transformed the once-shuttered, two-story, 24,000-sq-ft structure back into a community icon.
Originally designed in the Victorian style by one of Arizona's first major architects, James Creighton, the 1890s-era courthouse has undergone several additions and updates over the years. However, the building's structure and facade had deteriorated to such an extent that the county closed the courthouse in 2005, and it was included on a list of endangered buildings.
Selective demolition and abatement began first as contractors cataloged and field-verified non-original materials prior to demolition.
A main objective was to remove alterations made during past additions, retroactive to a 1917 project. With that in mind, the project team undertook detailed planning before restoring and rehabilitating the courthouse's exterior and interior spaces.
Exterior restoration started with crews weatherproofing, re-pointing exterior brick and restoring window frames as well as adding insulated glass windows.
On the interior, contractors restored historical doors and frames, removed plaster finishes from brick walls and refurbished the grand entry staircase. Designers incorporated the building's original jail bars into the revamped building.
The project also required the complete replacement of all mechanical, electrical and plumbing components; an upgrade to modern low voltage technology; and the installation of an elevator and other items to improve access to the building.
ENR Southwest's Best Projects judges were impressed with the transformation of the building, which now accommodates the Pinal County Board of Supervisors.
"I like the impact," said one. "That was a big statement in a city that doesn't usually do anything like that and their treatment was significant."
The project, which recently received an Arizona Governor's Heritage Preservation Honor Award, reopened for business in December 2012.
1891 Second Pinal County Courthouse RehabilitationFlorence, Ariz.
Construction manager Arcadis US, Phoenix Contractor Concord General Contracting Inc., Mesa, Ariz.
Owner Pinal County, Ariz.
Lead Design Swan Architects, Phoenix
Architect Caruso Turley Scott, Tempe, Ariz.
Structural Engineer Caruso Turley Scott, Tempe, Ariz.
Civil Engineer Oracle Engineering Group Inc., Tucson, Ariz.
MEP Applied Engineering, Tempe, Ariz.