Morrisons Cove Herald - Putting cows on the front page since 1885.

Blair Co. Receives Award For Courthouse Restoration


Blair Co. Commissioners

This photo shows the restoration of the 1875 courtroom in progress. Shown are the almost-completed walls and the completed ceiling as of last week.

Preservation Pennsylvania announced May 20 that Blair County has been selected to receive a 2019 Construction Award for Rehabilitation for its historic courthouse restoration project.

The award will be presented at the 2019 Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Awards ceremony scheduled for June 19, 2019, at Wilson College in Chambersburg. 

The awards presentation will be part of the 2019 Statewide Conference on Heritage. This event continues a tradition started in 1979 to honor excellence in preservation. The annual awards recognize significant contributions in the field of historic preservation made by both individuals and organizations.

Preservation Pennsylvania is the Commonwealth's only statewide, private, nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of historically and architecturally significant resources.

Upon being informed of the award, Commissioner Terry Tomassetti acknowledged the collective effort of all involved in the rehabilitation and restoration of the historic courthouse.

"We are indebted to our conservator John Rita, our architect Dave Albright and the remaining members of our Courthouse Preservation Oversight Team," Tomassetti said. "[That team included] Senior Judge Jolene Kopriva, Public Works Director Rocky Greenland and county Administrator Helen Schmitt, [who made] years of effort in saving our 'Independence Hall' from demolition for future generations and avoiding another major financial burden for the county."

Commissioner Tomassetti also recognized the many contractors for their quality work, noting the "artisanship, dedication and cooperation" of Albert Michaels Conservation Inc., led by Chris Cook of Altoona, which provided much of the work on the interior and exterior of the building.

Other comments

The comments of many Oversight Team members and Commissioner Bruce Erb were:

John Rita


"Six years ago, we began with a great urgency to save the structure, unknowing where it would lead us, or what would be accomplished. This award broadens and validates our recognition of the value of the building, and emphasizes the importance of preserving it."

Helen Schmitt

County Administrator

"Working on this project has given me an opportunity to truly appreciate the skill of the architect and laborers who were involved with the design and construction of the courthouse, and to marvel at their attention to detail. Additionally, it has allowed me to step back in time to enjoy the grandeur and dignity conveyed in the architecture and the public's opinion of the importance of government and justice."

Rocky Greenland

Director of Public Works

"Coming from the commercial construction industry, it is especially rewarding to see the commitment to rehabilitating the courthouse the right way, always seeking sound practices and techniques to extends its life with reduced costs of maintenance and repair in future. This is how restoration should be and was done."

Jolene Kopriva

Senior Judge

Blair Co. Commissioners

Damage to the wall from previous water infiltration.

"We appreciate the understanding and leadership in Blair County to recognize the need and value of preservation. They just don't make things like they used to and with the right care, the courthouse can last for many generations to come. I am proud to be part of this progress and commitment to this public treasure."

Bruce Erb


"Receiving one of the PA Preservation Awards is a great honor for Blair County. We are grateful for the recognition of the exceptional work that has been done and to Commissioner Tomassetti, the Courthouse Preservation Oversight Team, and the many craftsmen, contractors, and others who have shared their energy and talents on this most important project."


Reader Comments


Our Family of Publications Includes:

Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2019

Rendered 01/15/2020 14:46