Iowa courthouse closes amid structural issues

CLINTON (AP) — An eastern Iowa courthouse will be closed for the next two weeks due to a structural problem.
The Clinton County maintenance crew found a collapsed support beam in the courthouse’s basement Thursday morning, and the courthouse was evacuated around 10 a.m. A structural engineer from IIW in Dubuque recommended the building’s closure.
A preliminary inspection found that the beam failed because of normal wear and tear. Construction of the Law Enforcement Center on the courthouse grounds didn’t affect the beam’s collapse, engineers said.
“We were down there within the past two weeks,” said Eric Van Lancker, a county spokesman. “It’s a big beam, so there would be no way to miss that it had fallen. There’s no telling when it happened, but it hasn’t been that long ago.”
The inspection found other beams that need to be addressed, Van Lancker said. Engineers will shore up the beams during the building’s closure in order to make it safe enough for occupation, he said.
More permanent work will need to be done afterward, Van Lancker said. Engineers will create a plan to fix the building’s support using columns of bricks, he said.
Court functions and the clerk of courts office will temporarily relocate to the county administration building.
The Scott County and Jackson County courthouses have opened up their courthouses for judicial branch employees who need space to work and court hearings if necessary, Greve said.