Fayette County

Sneak peak: Dome revealed as old Fayette County courthouse renovated

An interior view of the dome in the former Fayette County courthouse. The dome, more than 100 feet above the ground floor, had been closed from view from the lower floors for decades by a floor that housed the heating and ventilation system. Work has begun on a $30 million overhaul that includes removing duct and mechanical equipment that a 1960s renovation put in the center of the courthouse. The old courthouse, which opened in 1900 after two years of construction, is planned be used for a restaurant, office space, Lexington visitor center, events and a bourbon bar, according to city officials.
An interior view of the dome in the former Fayette County courthouse. The dome, more than 100 feet above the ground floor, had been closed from view from the lower floors for decades by a floor that housed the heating and ventilation system. Work has begun on a $30 million overhaul that includes removing duct and mechanical equipment that a 1960s renovation put in the center of the courthouse. The old courthouse, which opened in 1900 after two years of construction, is planned be used for a restaurant, office space, Lexington visitor center, events and a bourbon bar, according to city officials. cbertram@herald-leader.com

Environmental remediation work on the former downtown courthouse on Main Street is under way.

Crews have removed some duct, heating and air conditioning units in preparation for a more extensive gutting of Lexington’s fourth courthouse. The interior dome of the courthouse, which had been covered and unseen by the public since an extensive renovation in the 1960s, is now more visible now that some of the mechanical equipment has been removed. The floor that currently obscures the dome will eventually be removed as part of the renovations. The dome, which is to be restored, will be visible from the ground floor.

The building, which was built in 1898, has been shuttered since 2012, when asbestos and lead paint were discovered.

The $30 million renovation of the courthouse is expected to take more than a year to complete. Plans call for the building to be turned into space for restaurants, bars, offices and events. Celebrated restaurateur and chef Ouita Michels has signaled her intent to put a second Windy Corner Market in the space.

See a photo of repair work on the dome from 1944, and a photo from renovation work in the courthouse from 1949.

Beth Musgrave: 859-231-3205, @HLCityhall

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