Fayette Circuit Courthouse to reopen partially Monday

jwarren@herald-leader.comNovember 1, 2013 

Deputy Chief Justice Mary C. Noble of the Supreme Court of Kentucky walked past damaged books and a ventilation tube Oct. 22 outside the water-damaged Justice Scott Reed Fayette Co. Law Library during a media tour of the water-damaged Fayette Circuit Courthouse. A water line break on Oct. 20 at the Robert F. Stephens Circuit Courthouse caused extensive damage to sections of four floors.

PHOTO BY CHARLES BERTRAM | STAFF — Herald-Leader Buy Photo

Parts of the Fayette County Circuit Courthouse will reopen Monday morning as planned, state court officials said Friday.

However, Fayette Circuit Clerk Vincent Riggs said his office will operate in temporary quarters at the Fayette District Courthouse and won't move back into the circuit court building until Wednesday morning.

"We'll start moving things back over Monday night and be ready for business at 8:30 Wednesday morning," Riggs said.

The circuit court building has been closed since Oct. 21, when a broken valve in a bathroom sent water flooding through the building and caused extensive damage on the first through fourth floors.

Workers have been drying out the building and making repairs since then. The circuit court has continued to operate using borrowed space at the county district court and the nearby Federal District Courthouse in Lexington.

The circuit court building will reopen Monday morning with most of the first and fourth floors, plus two courtrooms, accessible to the public, according to the Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts.

State officials said reopening the rest of the building could take four to six weeks.

The full extent of damage — including effects on electrical wiring and cables running through the floors — also probably won't be known for some time, officials said.

There is no word on what caused the valve to fail and flood the building, court officials said Friday.

The valve, on a toilet in a fourth-floor bathroom, broke sometime after 5 p.m. Oct. 20, unleashing a two-inch-thick geyser of water. The leak might have continued for five hours before it was discovered.

Riggs said he was pleased that court services to the public had continued without interruption despite the flooding.

"Everybody involved — the judges, the secretaries, the city — did a great job," he said.

Jim Warren: (859) 231-3255.

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