Florida Courthouse Support Columns Need Repair

February 3, 2014

The structural columns in the basement of the 1925 Miami-Dade County Courthouse are being evaluated after an inspection showed evidence of “significant” deterioration.

The Miami Herald reports results of the tests will be ready by late February. Miriam Singer, the assistant director of Miami-Dade County’s Internal Services Department, says the support columns will like need extensive repairs.

Singer and officials from U.S. Structures Inc. say the building remains safe for use. They only recommended closing the courthouse, which houses the county’s civil court division, in the case of a hurricane.

“No one should be alarmed,” Singer said. “We are in good hands. We have a great deal of confidence in our two consulting firms. They have significant experience, specifically with historic preservation.”

Once the evaluations are done, consultants may also recommend temporary shoring while repairs are done, Jose Toledo, an engineer with U.S. Structures Inc., wrote in a letter to the county.

He said the structural deterioration is due to the basement sitting below the water table, causing periodic flooding. He said a repair plan will need to remedy that situation.

The courthouse is considered one of the city’s historic structures. It is undergoing a $30 million exterior renovation, which is needed to help seal the building from water intrusion.

When the courthouse was built, the 28-story steel-skeleton skyscraper was the tallest building south of the Washington Monument. It housed courtrooms, the city’s main jail and Miami City Hall.

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