Courthouse

Rachael Keating/Clinton Herald

Structural issues caused the Clinton County Courthouse to close Thursday, forcing the evacuation of people inside of the building.

CLINTON — A structural matter at the Clinton County Courthouse is causing the building's closure for the next two weeks.

County maintenance crews Thursday morning found a collapsed support beam in the basement of the courthouse. A structural engineer from IIW in Dubuque has recommended the building be closed for two weeks. During that time, work can be done to shore up the beams to allow the building to be occupied. More permanent work will be needed after that. According to the engineer, the beams only supported the first floor, not the entire structure.

The preliminary inspection showed the support beam failed due to regular wear. The structural engineer said the Law Enforcement Center construction taking place on the courthouse grounds did not affect the support beams in the courthouse.

All court functions while the courthouse is closed are being moved to the Clinton County Administration Building, 1900 N. Third St. The Clerk of Courts office will also temporarily relocate the County Administration Building.

“The court system has an emergency plan for just such an occasion and that is to move our operation to the County Administration building,” said Chief District Court Judge Marlita Greve. “The transition from the courthouse to the Administration Building went very well (Thursday). We also will make space available in the Scott County and/or Jackson County courthouse for any judicial branch employees who need space to work and will have those courthouses available for court hearings if necessary as well. We thank Clinton County for providing us court space in the Administration Building.”

The Board of Supervisors weekly meeting will be moved to the County Satellite Building in DeWitt on Monday due to the courtroom arrangements at the Administration Building.

The main entrance to the Administration Building will be moved during the temporary court arrangements for security purposes. The Administration Building main entrance will be the door on the north end of the building.

The Clinton County Courthouse was evacuated at approximately 10 a.m. Thursday. Two County District Court sentencings were held as planned at the courthouse. Three sentencings were held later in the morning after a change in venue to the Clinton County Administration Building.

The issues also derailed tours that were supposed to take place featuring American Queen passengers.