KERROBERT ‑ The need to fund a significant stair replacement project for the soon to be 102 year-old Kerrobert Courthouse, a majestic community icon was earlier chronicled in an Oct 15, 2021 on SASKTODAY.ca The 101 yr-old Kerrobert Courthouse undergoes work - SaskToday.ca
The landmark, in its 101-year history, saw deterioration to its eaves system to the point where water was pouring off the front of the façade onto the front entrance stairway. The town was able to secure a municipal economic enhancement program grant that facilitated the repair of the eaves, with work continuing to prevent any further erosion or damage to the front entrance.
The front stairs are a priority project scheduled for spring 2022.
In August of 2019, Kerrobert town council approved the formation of the Kerrobert Courthouse Restoration Society (KCRS) to help raise funds to preserve the courthouse building. This committee of council is comprised of volunteers who are members of the permanent entities that are housed within the Kerrobert Courthouse building. They work with the town of Kerrobert towards raising funds for restoration projects that are needed on the building.
During the 100th birthday celebration of the courthouse in 2020, the Kerrobert Courthouse was symbolically rebranded as the Kerrobert Cultural Centre. For 76 of its 101 years the building had served as a courthouse, but now it has a new important role as the heartbeat of the community, serving as the town office and by enriching their lives as a cultural centre with the museum, art gallery and library all within the courthouse walls.
The Kerrobert Cultural Centre and Courtroom Gallery, which showcases works and narratives of many Saskatchewan and local artists, is housed there.
The Kerrobert and District Museum is alive with rich history that will allow the visitor to take a journey into the past. Displays from all around the region are dispersed throughout the upper floor and basement. From May to August of 2021, the museum saw nearly 200 tourists visit. A summer student is hired each year to help with major projects, thanks to the Young Canada Works Grant.
The plans for the courthouse were drawn up by provincial architect Maurice W. Sharon and the contractors that built it were Wilson and Wilson of Regina. The building is designated a municipal heritage building and is listed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places.
It’s no secret this building has its fair share of ghost stories as well, but are they real? Many believe so while others do not. The internet is alive with stories from those who have had paranormal encounters at this historic location.
Since their formation, KCRS have hosted a number of events to help fundraise for ongoing maintenance and repairs. Added, since 2020, us lighting up the courtyard at Christmas to lift spirits during the pandemic. A “Friends of the Courthouse” campaign has begun to accept donations and through these ongoing fundraising efforts, the group was able to allocate $22,000 to the stair restoration project so far.
Kerrobert Courthouse Restoration Society committee member, Veronica Smith, says, “KCRS will continue fundraising in order to keep this magnificent, historical building in excellent condition for the future."
View the centennial ceremony, the Festival of Trees Courtyard light ups and all latest updates for the Kerrobert Courthouse Restoration Society on their Facebook page.
An engineered wood staircase was placed over the concrete front stairs back in 2011, after prior efforts to patch the concrete proved to be unsuccessful. In 2020, due to breakage, chipping and warping, the decision was made by the town to remove the damaged engineered wood and try to repair the original stairs with newer, better materials.
When the concrete stairs were exposed, it was shown that they had suffered considerable deterioration from the freezing and thawing of the runoff from the eaves. A structural engineer was brought in at this point and it was determined there was irreversible damage with the cement binder physically crumbling and the concrete thus reverting to gravel, with the recommendation given for removal.
Through consultation with the Saskatchewan Heritage Foundation, the decision was made to move forward with restoration of the stair side walls and replacement of the stairs while ensuring appropriate conservation methods were being fostered. It was found necessary to remove the stairs in order to allow the architectural firm to complete the drawings for the proper rebuilding of the front entrance steps.
The town of Kerrobert acknowledged a generous donation from Enbridge towards this restoration project, though a Fueling Futures grant program. as well as the Saskatchewan Heritage Foundation through their Built Heritage grant program.
Through the incredible support of the community, the front-stair project can begin in spring with phase one. A total of $90,600 is in place through a collaborative effort of the Kerrobert Courthouse Restoration Society, two grants, community donations and the budget.
The selective demolition and restoration of the stair side walls and putting new foundations under them will be just shy of the $40,000 mark and a company has been chosen to complete that work.
The town of Kerrobert will be re-tendering the main staircase construction in the near future in hopes of getting a better outcome than those that were received in 2021, according to a post on the Kerrobert Courthouse Restoration Society Facebook page.
Donations are always welcome. Anyone can make monetary donations at any time to the town of Kerrobert via e-transfers to firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations of $20 or grater will receive a donation receipt.