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Crews work to fix the heat in the Boone County, Ark. courthouse

The Boone County courthouse is relying on gas powered heaters to maintain an adequate temperature in the building after repairs are needed to fix the boiler.
Published: Jan. 3, 2022 at 5:12 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 4, 2022 at 11:42 AM CST
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HARRISON, Ark. (KY3) - The Boone County courthouse in downtown Harrison is without heat after an issue with the boiler.

The courthouse, which was originally built in 1909, is a part of the historic preservation. No repair can be made without taking into account the building’s historical value. The county is currently relying on non-vent gas-powered heaters in the basement to heat the building adequately enough to keep the courthouse open.

“Two places of interest, one being the courthouse lawn and the other being our lake,” said a store owner in downtown Harrison.

But age comes with problems, and the courthouse has been without heat for several weeks.

”The Boone County Courthouse, it’s a historical site, with that aspect of it, everything is old,” said Fred Woehl, a Boone County justice of the peace. “So what we have had to do is try to keep things going. The furnace has worked pretty well over the years, but it has never been looked into completely.”

The upgrades or repairs may be costly. The companies Boone County leaders have contacted say it could be six or more weeks before receiving parts.

”It’s probably 50 or 60-years-old and something just needs to be done, it needs to be replaced,” said Woehl, who says he knows the new heaters are not a permanent solution. “Is it going to keep the building in the 70′s? I really don’t think so, because it’s an old building with lots of windows. But it will make it to where people can work, they may have to wear a sweater or something like that.”

Several courthouse employees voiced their frustration off camera. Many stated they wished the county would move operations to a new building. Many questions remain about new sources of heat, like how much it will cost the county. Also, several space heaters being used around the building could cause problems with throwing electrical breakers.

”It’s one of those things, it’s not going to happen overnight. If it gets really cold like it did last year, we’ll have to close our courthouse,” said Woehl.

The next Boone County Quorum court meeting is set for Jan. 11.

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