courthouse attic.jpg

Approximately 20 rows of files which are 12 feet tall and 30 feet long can be found in the Clinton County Courthouse attic.

Samantha Pidde/Clinton Herald

Files stored in the Clinton County Courthouse attic were the topic of discussion during Monday’s Clinton County Board of Supervisors meeting.

County Maintenance Director Rick Laurion warned the board that the storage items in the attic could eventually cause a problem. The floor of the attic is not a solid wall, but Plywood placed on top of a metal I-beam with a clay tiling inlay. Laurion said putting too much weight on the floor could cause a serious incident.

Rows upon rows of book cases fill the large attic space. Laurion estimated that there are approximately 20 rows of files that are 12 feet tall and 30 feet long. He said this is a lot of weight for the attic floor to handle. Laurion said he is especially worried about the weight if the sprinklers would go off and all of those files became wet and, therefore, heavier.

The discussion came about from a complaint the board received concerning fire alarms in the courthouse. The fire alarm went off at 2:30 p.m. July 26 in the courthouse. Marilyn K. Huff, Clerk of Court, wrote the board a letter stating that members of her staff were in the attic at the time of the alarm and could not hear it.

She said in the letter that this poses a “potential harmful situation” because not only her staff uses the attic. She requested the addition of an alarm to the attic.

Employees are supposed to sign in whenever they go up to the attic. Laurion said it is the responsibility of the department heads of the different offices to be aware who is up there and get them when a fire alarm goes off.

Laurion told the board that the attic is not meant for human occupancy. He said a great deal of work would go into getting the area up to code for human occupancy. Adding the appropriate amount of fire alarms in the attic would also be very expensive, said Laurion.

Laurion and the supervisors agreed that this lack of fire alarms is another reason the attic should not be used for storage. The board members discussed the possibility of having the files scanned and stored electronically. The possibility of storing the files somewhere else was discussed. The files have to be stored in a secure location.

Supervisor Jill Davisson said discussions need to be held to see what type of space is needed to properly store the files.

Whether the county has to pay for storage or hire employees to scan the files, Davisson said it is no longer acceptable to have them in the courthouse’s attic.

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