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Downtown Jackson County courthouse reopens after nearly three-week closure

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Posted at 1:40 PM, Feb 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-19 15:02:31-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The downtown Jackson County courthouse reopened Tuesday after a pair of water line breaks forced the building to close for nearly three weeks.

The building at 415 E. 12th Street closed Jan. 31 when a water line outside the courthouse burst, sending 10 feet of water into the basement and knocking out power. Four days later, a second water line break occurred inside the courthouse, which caused damage on the upper floors.

Some areas of the courthouse are still under construction, including five damaged courtrooms, some offices on the east side of the building and the Court Administration area on the third floor. It could take “several months” for those areas to be reopened, the Jackson County Executive’s Office said in a news release.

Work on the courthouse included repairing or replacing water-damaged ceilings, walls, carpet and furniture. An environmental testing firm also ensured the courthouse was safe for employees to return to work, the county said.

“We must invest in this courthouse if we plan to continue to use it, but we must also understand that regardless of the improvements we make, this will still be a nearly 90-year-old building,” Jackson County Executive Frank White Jr. said in the news release. “We are working with an architect to ensure we’re doing all we can to preserve the integrity of the historic building as we put together a long-term plan to ensure it remains functional for generations to come.”

White has not said how much the repairs will cost, but he said at a news conference earlier this month that he believed most of it would be covered by insurance.