By Jayson Knight
Grady County’s courthouse, in Chickasha, will soon see some improvements. District 1 Commissioner Zac Davis said he has contacted a construction company about repairing some of the 88-year-old infrastructure at the courthouse.
In 2022, the Grady County Courthouse was closed 14 days for plumbing issues.
“We started talking about that in probably January, February,” Commissioner Davis said Monday, October 2, “right after I came into office. The courthouse is pretty much all original since 1935, all the wiring, all the plumbing, everything is original to the courthouse, and it’s just been neglected for years. We haven’t had any major work done to it in years and years and years, and we’ve just constantly got plumbers coming in and out. The bathrooms are outdated, way outdated, and we don’t have really any bathroom that is really ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant. I made a phone call to CMS Willowbrook and we kind of started the process, and hopefully by the time it’s all said and done, we’ll have complete remodels on all the bathrooms with new fixtures, new stalls. Hopefully, down in the basement, we’re going to get a couple of ADA compliant bathrooms put in, and new electrical throughout. We’ll also be upgrading everything to LED, that’ll help with keeping bills down. We’re going to try to lower the electric bill a little bit. We have jurors who come into the courthouse, and the people deserve to be able to go to a place in 2023, and be able to go in and use the bathroom and not have to worry about having to go across the street or anything to that effect.”
Aside from making the courthouse more efficient, the work will also help to make county residents more comfortable while visiting.
“It’s just time to do some work on our courthouse,” Davis said. “It’s the people’s house, and we’ve got the money to do it and it’s time to do it. We’re going to do that down in the basement. That’s really the only two places we’re going to be able to get ADA compliant. It’s not ideal. That’s kind of just what we’re stuck with. We’re going to redo the bathrooms downstairs, and relocate some toilets downstairs, and just try to do better. I imagine that’s kind of a standard thing for courthouses. There’s a bathroom down there right now that is all copper wire. All the plumbing is copper in that building and we’ve got a bathroom right now that is shut down, because we need to tear the walls out to fix the plumbing. It’s going to be a lot of work, I imagine. To relocate pipes and stuff like that, you’re going to have to pull some floors up that’s original from the building and all that. It hurts my feelers to do all that, but at the end of the day, to get progress and to get it brought up to code, and to make it to where we don’t have plumbers in there every week, working on bathrooms and stuff, we’re just going to have to do it.
“The old pipes actually sag, so it catches toilet paper and debris and stuff in those sagging pipes. You can only get so much in there before you have to have plumbers come out and remove it. It’s costing a lot of money to do that. Just two or three weeks ago, we had a water line break in the attic and fortunately we found it in time, and we didn’t get a bunch of documents wet, but we got a few of them wet, and they had to do some repairs. There was also water damage repaired in one of the court rooms, and we’re just trying to prevent that. It’s an old building. It’s a beautiful old building, and it just needs some love.”
The construction is expected to begin toward the end of the year.
“Of course, there’s a lot of people that are involved in this,” the commissioner said. “There’s electrical engineers involved in this. There’s plumbing involved in it. There’s architects involved. It’s a pretty elaborate process, and I currently have meetings set up with them every Thursday. We have a huddle every Thursday morning to talk about it and get progress on it.”
As far as how people will enter or exit the courthouse, “It won’t have any effect on any of that,” Davis said. “All that will be the same, just hopefully they’ll have nice bathrooms that they’ll be able to go use, and they’ll be cleaner and more comfortable.”
Commissioners have not been presented an official estimate on the project yet, but they are awaiting a response from an estimator.
“Hopefully, here in the next month or so, we’ll know for sure,” Davis said. “They said a couple of weeks, but with the way contractors and architects work, it’s usually about two weeks after they say so. We’ll have a figure on it sometime in the next week or so.”