ou might call it the perfect way to literally top off the renovations to the Historic Jackson County Truman Courthouse. Although remodeling the interior -- to make the national landmark on Independence Square once again a "working courthouse" -- has been a primary focus this summer, workers have recently erected scaffolding around the iconic clock tower on top of the building. The clock faces and entire tower are being fully refurbished.
An inspection of the clock revealed that its striker was inaccurately placed.
Americlock of Ballwin, Missouri, has been contracted to install a new striking mechanism so the existing tower bell will work properly and to also upgrade the central clock movement controls. Furthermore, Americlock will restore all four clock faces and trim moldings.
"The clock tower is of this building's most distinguishable characteristics," County Executive Mike Sanders said. "Having the clock's bell ringing around Independence Square is another step in bringing this important courthouse back to life."
While Americlock concentrates on the clock faces, Pishny Restoration Services of Lenexa, Kansas, will be remodeling the tower, replacing damaged finials, balustrade, railing and trim with new materials selected to match already existing profiles. Pishny will restore or replace all the damaged wood trim.
In addition to refinishing the copper roofing and flashing, Dayco Painting of Grandview, Missouri will paint any exposed surfaces.
Other improvements include spraying foam insulation in the tower and improving access to the roof.
The white lights on the courthouse cupola have been a long time tradition on Independence Square. New lighting connections will be installed around the open arches of the bell tower, allowing the courthouse to be easily illuminated during the holiday season.
Preserving the Truman Courthouse has been among Mike Sanders' top priorities since becoming County Executive in 2007. His 2009 public emergency declaration freed up the necessary funding to restore the landmark's exterior and foundation before the building reached a state of deterioration that would have been beyond repair.
Those 2009 repairs began with the removal of a 1972 retaining wall that had caused rain and the run-off from melting snow to repeatedly pool around courthouse. They ended with the courthouse grounds being restored to their historic 1933 appearance.
This summer's renovations have included the installation of an elevator to allow full accessibility. When completed, the Truman Courthouse will house offices for the Assessment, Collection and Record of Deeds Departments, as well as an art museum and the headquarters for the Independence Department of Tourism and Jackson County Historical Society.
The Truman Courthouse is scheduled to re-open to the public September 7, 2013.