KERROBERT ‑ The dedicated group committed to maintaining and updating the Kerrobert Courthouse continues their work as the Kerrobert Courthouse Restoration committee.
Over the last 101 years, the eaves of this majestic courthouse building, a landmark in the community of Kerrobert, deteriorated to the point where water was pouring off the front of the façade and onto the front entrance stairway.
Fortunately, this group was able to secure a Municipal Economic Enhancement Program grant that facilitated repair of the eaves and work is continuing in order to prevent any further erosion or damage to the building.
Unfortunately, the freezing and thawing that occurred from this water runoff has led to serious deterioration of the building’s front entrance.
“Engineered wood stairs were placed over the original concrete stairs back in 2011 after prior efforts to patch the concrete stairs proved to be unsuccessful,” says a Kerrobert Courthouse Restoration committee spokesperson.
In 2020, due to breakage, chipping and warping, the decision was made to remove the damaged engineered wood steps and then try to repair the original stairs with newer, better materials.
The Town of Kerrobert acquired a grant for approximately half the estimated cost of $18,894 to do this from the Saskatchewan Heritage Foundation. A contractor was hired and this July, the Town had the damaged engineered wood steps removed. After removing the composite wood, the contractor expressed concerns with the extent of the damage to the original concrete stairs, landing and side walls. The damage was more extensive than was expected and had accelerated greatly since 2011. The Town then contacted the Saskatchewan Heritage Foundation for guidance on how to move forward with the restoration to ensure the appropriate conservation methods were being fostered while providing a safe entrance to the building.
Sadly, the committee learned that it was recommended a structural engineer be sought out to advise if the stairs could still be repaired or if they need replacement. The engineer reported the concrete used in the front stairs was “irreversibly damaged,” stating “the cement binder was physically crumbling, and the concrete was reverting to gravel.” The recommendation was for removal. The foundations of the side walls were found to be crumbling causing them to lean outwards and they will need to be disassembled and new foundations put under them as well.
A KCRC spokesperson said, “In order to determine how to go forward, council retained an architectural firm to take the project to fruition. It was necessary to remove the stairs without hesitation for safety reasons as well as in order for the drawings to be completed so the work of rebuilding the front entrance could begin as soon as possible. The Town is currently applying for and looking at funding opportunities for the new project scope. The estimated cost is upwards of $100,000. It is expected work will begin on the front entrance project in the next couple of weeks and hopefully be completed by late fall.”
The committee and the Town of Kerrobert acknowledge a generous donation from Enbridge towards this front stair restoration project, though a Fueling Futures grant program.
This hard-working group says they will also proceed with their December Festival of Trees event and hope to continue with their town Christmas party featuring the Bromantics. They also remind supporters that they can donate to the friends of the courthouse campaign be mailing or dropping off a donation at the town office.
The community is grateful for this restoration group’s continued diligent efforts in finding ways to fund as well as ways to continue the ongoing work in keeping this magnificent, historical building in excellent condition for the future. You can see all the latest updates for the Kerrobert Courthouse on their Facebook page.