Some of the damaged records date back nearly half a century.
By NORMAN LEIGH
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
LISBON -- Work is expected to begin in the next few weeks on a project intended to protect Columbiana County probate and juvenile court records from water damage.
The $18,775 job will entail renovating parts of the former David Anderson High School, which now houses the county juvenile court center.
In the basement of the Lincoln Way building are rooms designated for storage of thousands of case records dating back decades.
The county is required by state law to maintain the documents, which are valuable resources for the court, genealogists and others.
Damaged: But many of the records, including those dating to the 1950s, have been damaged by water that comes into the building after heavy rains, explained Dane Walton, juvenile court director.
The water penetrates through an exterior wall that lies below ground grade. It also percolates up through drains in the storage area floor.
Pulling open a file cabinet drawer, Walton removed a case folder and showed the water stains.
Damage has been so extensive at times that members of the court staff haves had to spread documents out on the gymnasium floor of the old school to allow them to dry, Walton related.
Despite the damage done to the documents, none have been destroyed, so far.
Precautions: To help avert further damage, the court has placed file cabinets atop wood planks and cement blocks to lift them from the floor.
But the water still soaks carpets and leaves the storage area with a bad smell.
D & amp;A Trucking and Excavating of Canfield has been contracted to remove glass block windows in one of the storage room walls and replace them with concrete block.
A slope on the other side of the wall will be filled in and fitted with a drainage pipe to help carry water away from the wall.
Drain pipes now direct water from the roof and into building drains, which become overloaded and cause water to gush out through storage room floor drains.
To fix that problem, the contractor will reroute the drain pipes and eliminate the system that's tied into the floor drains, Walton said. The new configuration will guide water away from the building.
Once work starts, it should take about three weeks to complete.
The court is using a maintenance fund to pay for the project.