Water leak above treasurer’s office fixed

Concerns also expressed about water pressure in courthouse
By: 
Kevin Passon
Editor-in-chief

It’s more than simple maintenance issues being reported at the Shawano County Courthouse.

The latest problem was a leak above the county treasurer’s office.

“It was actually a crack on a hub joint,” Steve Dreher, head of the county maintenance department, told the Shawano County Public Property Committee on Feb. 1. “Unfortunately, when this building was built, all the supports that are inside these chases that are built inside the walls were all nice and tight and cinched down, and (after) 70-plus years of gravity and vibration, we can’t just go up there and say, ‘Oh, we’ll just throw in some PVC,’ because I’m not sure the whole stack wouldn’t come down.”

The leak was fixed in January.

“She’s showing her age,” Dreher said of the courthouse, which was built in 1956.

Somerville Architects and Engineers completed a facilities assessment of the courthouse and other buildings in spring 2023.

It documented the physical conditions of the courthouse, heating plant, sheriff’s department and jail. The report focused on the buildings’ interiors and exteriors, code deficiencies, plumbing systems, HVAC (heating, venting and air conditioning) systems and electrical systems.

Supervisor Jerry Erdmann inquired into whether the courthouse elevator shaft was dry, to which Dreher said it still contained several inches of water.

“I can’t pump any lower than that,” he said.

Erdmann said the building is lower than the Shawano Lake Channel just a few blocks north of the courthouse, so it should not surprise anyone that water accumulates in low areas.

“Water’s going to come in until one day it’ll be a foot in the basement,” he said.

Dreher also cautioned the committee about potential flooding.

“That’s another thing you need to realize,” he said. “This building is served by a 3-inch copper line. We’re at 70-plus PSI (pounds per square inch). If that line were to snap on a Saturday morning, by Saturday night, this whole basement, including the server room, would be a swimming pool.”

Dreher said even if maintenance could install a regulator and decrease the PSI to 58, a break in the pipe would still result in a flood, just an hour slower than otherwise.

In one positive note about a county building, the new roof and insulation for the Crawford Center are set to be installed in spring.

kpasson@newmedia-wi.com