RENOVATIONS OF THE SHIAWASSEE COUNTY Courthouse continue during the first phase of a two-phase process. Shown on Monday, June 27, is work being done by trained artisans in courtroom 1 on the third floor.
The courthouse, completed in 1904, is undergoing what will likely amount to roughly $6 million in renovations following approval by the Shiawassee County Commissioners to use $372,000 of ARPA (American Rescue Act Plan) funds to kick-off the process to save the historic structure. ARPA funds will be used to support all of the courthouse renovations.
Chair Greg Brodeur (R-Dist. 2) initially shared he had not been in favor of restoring the building because “I thought the building still seemed okay.” It was discovered the building is not okay and is in need of considerable work before further deterioration occurs – and building a new courthouse would cost the county far more. The commissioners were challenged to opt to do the renovations in a timely manner, not to do the renovations at all and let the building fail or to build another far more expensive structure. It was decided to save the historic building.
Early in June, a drone flew over the courthouse to photograph the roof, dome and other upper architectural features. Some good news regarding the roof and dome is the photos show there is not as much renovation work needed as earlier thought possible.
A large part of the total cost is the county investment in a new, more efficient and longer lasting heating/cooling system. That coupled with the full renovation process should see the life of the structure prolonged for decades.
The first part of the renovations are planned to have the courthouse looking good before the upcoming Mark Latunski trial in October. (Latunski, previously of Bennington Township, has been in custody since 2019, following the murder of Kevin Bacon of Swartz Creek.)
(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)