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Courthouse proposal may seem costly, but look at the basic facts

Sun Advocate community editor

For some people the idea of building a new courthouse in a county that is actually shrinking in size population wise seems the wrong thing to do. But if people look at the facts of the matter, they will see that new facility is actually desperately needed.

For those who have lived here their lives, and are over 50, it may only seem like yesterday that everyone was calling the courthouse as it stands today the "new courthouse."

But time moves swiftly and people who actually remember the courthouse that preceded the one we now have know the problems it had. Reports in the Sun Advocates of the 1950's reported that the building was leaking all over the place, plaster was falling off the walls, in some places the ceiling was falling down and the heating system was failing and inadequate. The occupants were also saying that things were way to cramped and there wasn't enough storage space.

That sounds almost exactly like what is happening to the building that stands in it's place today. I went and took a mini tour of the building on Monday and could see some of the problems, some I had never noticed before.

If the original courthouse still stood today we could get money to revamp and modernize it because the attitude about that beautiful building in this day and age would be to save it. But in the 1950's, for reasons only the mentality then could explain, they tore down most of those buildings that were built just after the turn of the century because they wanted modern, luxurious buildings with good looking and smooth lines.

Look around and you can still see a lot of those kinds of buildings along the Wasatch Front, particularly school buildings. Many mass production buildings constructed in the late 1950's and early 1960's have a look. But more than that, most were constructed to only last 20-30 years. The reason? It was a time of great growth in the United States and a time when we thought it would never end. It was the beginning of the throwaway society we have all become used to. People then, as we are with many things today, were short sighted.

I spent 20 years of my work life in the facilities business either cleaning, repairing, renting, managing or planning buildings of all types. I have seen so many buildings like the present courthouse all over America that I actually get them mixed up in my mind. But the similarities and problems they have between one another is something I can't get out of my head. Roofs fail, heating systems decline, insulation is non-existent, and therefore energy costs go out of sight. And technologically, they just weren't built for todays use, either in terms of machines or people.

As far as I am concerned the county commission made a good decision last week to look for money to replace this aging building.

Unlike the last courthouse, this one has no redeeming architectural qualities for which it should be saved.

I just ask that this time the county build something attractive that will stand the test of time.

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