CHECKING THE TIME

Even with the wind beneath the crane, Webster County’s Courthouse 106-year-old clocktower looks good from the bucket’s eye view

Messenger photo by Hans Madsen As one worker reaches out to inspect a small section, another takes careful notes as the pair, working from a crane basket, inspect the clock tower on the Webster County Courthouse Tuesday. They will be taking photographs, doing a 3-D scan and using a drone for other closeups during the week.

With the wind and snow whipping through downtown Fort Dodge, it’s not the best time to be high off the pavement in a crane basket.

But crews from Snyder & Associates, of Ankeny, were up Tuesday morning doing work on the Webster County Courthouse’s 106-year-old copper clock tower.

“The digital scans I believe are complete. Now they are doing structural integrity testing,” said Webster County Supervisor Mark Campbell.

The plan is for the crane crew to be here about a week, Campbell said, although they can’t do their work if the winds are too strong.

The crane is operated by McGough Inc., of Fort Dodge.

Engineers from Shuck-Britson, of Des Moines, part of the Snyder & Associates family, were hired by the county in September as part of a study to repair the courthouse’s iconic clock tower.

The plan included use of a 3-D scanner, using the crane to obtain measurements and details of the copper dome, and images taken with a drone.

As a historic building, the county needs to repair the damage to the clock tower when it is damaged, Supervisor Merrill Leffler said in September.

“The courthouse, being over 100 years old, has normal wear and tear from Mother Nature,” Supervisor Nick Carlson previously said. “We’re going to do a study to see what we can do before it becomes a safety issue.”

Shuck-Britson was also hired at that meeting to examine the skylight in the county’s bank building on First Avenue South which needs repair.

The clock’s inner workings were most recently replaced in 2016. A new controller was installed, the gears replaced, and workers also installed new hands for the clocks and replaced two of the four clock faces.

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