Polk County Historic Courthouse

Des Moines, Iowa
  • Client
    Polk County
  • SQ. FT.
    135,063 square feet
  • Budget
  • Market
  • Year
  • • Illuminating Engineering Society
    Merit Award

This was a precursor project to address the issues of water entering the Polk County Courthouse building before the larger interior project would take place. The scope included on-site investigation, estimating, documentation, and a public bidding process. Lead-coated copper detailing was added to each belt course, lead-coated copper flatlock was added in the balcony recesses, and lead-coated copper detailing was added at the tower and roof levels. Interior masonry of the tower was damaged; poultice for the salt extraction with repointing was completed in the tower above the occupied building below. The remaining interior portion of the project will be addressed in future phases to protect the interior finishes from being damaged after repair.
The exterior stone surface had large amounts of soiling and salts, which caused microfracturing of the limestone through the mechanisms of inter-granular crystallization. OPN extracted the salt to prevent further damage to the stone material. The biogrowth soiling on the surface was due to the inability of the limestone material to dry, causing the dirt and grime of the city to collect and discolor the limestone. OPN ran and completed test panels. Moisture testing of the existing brick masonry was completed as a part of this project. Exterior lighting was added and designed to evenly showcase the architecture.

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