Those entering the Cavalier County Courthouse this winter may not notice a huge change, but the courthouse is none-the-less undergoing a major update as the heating system of pipes is replaced.
By Melissa Anderson
The current courthouse was constructed in 1957-58 making the boiler system and pipes almost 60 years old. While the system has received general maintenance as well as one major update to the boilers themselves along with pumps about 10 years ago, the system is now in need of a total overhaul.
“There was a loss of water pressure through the last winter, and we were hoping it would make it, which it did, but then we found a pipe that had cracked,” Terry Girodat, the maintenance director at the courthouse, stated.
The crack was discovered earlier this year after water issues and humidity were a problem in the basement area. Girodat began working on repairing the pipe but when that failed the decision was made to replace the entire system of heating pipes.
This led to the need for an asbestos abatement. Girodat and Shannon Duerr, Executive Director for the Cavalier County Job Development Authority, worked on finding grants and with the state to have the abatement completed.
“The biggest things were the asbestos removal, the writing of the grant, the creation of contracts and then the bidding The abatement wasn’t completed until the last week of October,” Girodat explained.
Now that the abatement is completed, the process to improve the heating system of the courthouse is underway. The county has accepted a bid and will soon have the contract completed so that the replacement of the entire piping system underneath the courthouse can be addressed. These replacements while not be visible to those in the courthouse, but will help improve the heating efficiency of the system.
“As far as upstairs, the inside of the fins and the piping that comes up from the basement will be replaced,” Girodat explained.
The exterior view of the heating system will remain, but the pipes, valves, fittings, etc will all be replaced, updating the system to last another 60 years. The main pipes will be replaced with the same type of piping that was used previously, but copper is being considered for the piping that comes up from the basement to the radiators as it is easier to bend.
”We never thought the pipes would give out, so when we found the leak and it was so bad that we couldn’t repair it cause it was so rusted, it was surprising. There was no way to repair it and have good flow,” Girodat said.
With this update the entire heating system will be more energy efficient, and Girodat has plans for future improvements to the system that will make it even more so.
“We are putting in new pumps that will make it more efficient and eventually, down the road, we may add two additional boilers that are even more efficient than the current boilers,” Girodat stated.
The total projected cost of the project is under a half a million dollars, coming in at about $420,000 which does not include the engineering. This is down from the initial projected cost of almost $700,000.
The Cavalier County Commission approved the funding of the project through a local source of Farmers and Merchants Bank in Langdon.
“It’s necessary general maintenance to the facility to continue to provide services to the county,” the commission stated.
In the interim of the project, the courthouse is being retrofitted to have heat pushed through the upper ventilation in the courthouse. The alternate heating sources are being used and are working well to keep the courthouse comfortable as winter approaches.