Courthouse dome to be finished this week

The 7,600 pieces of stained glass that comprise the dome over the courthouse rotunda will be reassembled by the end of the day Monday. A crew from the Stained Glass Store in Des Moines did half the job Thursday. They’ll return Monday to finish.

Prior to taking the 100-year-old dome from the courthouse in January, the crew built a ladder and catwalk around the dome. They removed the stained glass, panel by panel, and hauled the panels back to their workshop. There, the craftsmen took them apart, cleaned the glass and put them back together with new solder.

Don Van Gilder of the county engineer’s office explained that the panels aren’t rigid or bowed, that the lead ribs of the panel have some “give” to them. Placing the panels into the steel frame of the dome involves using zip ties to attach the panel to a long 2 X 4. The craftsmen use the 2 X 4 to place the panel in the frame, and then cut the zip ties. The panel assumes the gentle curve needed for the dome shape.

Total cost of rehabilitating the large rotunda dome is $109,640. The smaller dome over the courtroom was done two years ago. The two projects together totaled $135,000. Grow Greene County recently awarded the county a $55,000 grant toward the cost of the rehabilitation.

Making sure the domes would last for the next 100 years has been on the to-do list of the county engineer and the supervisors in preparation for the courthouse centennial in October, 2017.

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