Potter County Courthouse takes magazine's top spot

The sound of jail-bar doors closing is probably the last sound anyone wants to hear, but now that the Potter County Courthouse has finished its approximately $17 million renovation project, it's the last remaining jail cell in the building. It's a piece of history, the design and construction team decided to keep.

The International Building Design and Construction Magazine awarded the courthouse the Platinum Reconstruction Award.

Project manager, Mike Head, said the building went up against other places that also have some history including: the Wrigley building in Chicago, the St Louis Library, and the Statue of Liberty.

"We've competed I've heard it was over 50 different people that submitted and was nominated for this award. The platinum award is the highest of the awards you can receive from this magazine, and we were one of the top three," he said.

The international magazine recognized the courthouse a year after the completed renovation, but for the project team, it wanted nothing more than to preserve the 1932 classic. Potter County Commissioner H.R. Kelly wasn't around for the entire 15 years, but said Head was strict when it came to the renovation.

"Well they saved as much as they could, whether it was benches or chairs," Kelly said.

Head said in keeping with the building's historic roots it's what made the renovation a struggle and what kept the building a year late from opening.

"This project was very unique in its own way. You take a 1932 structure, it was never designed to accommodate the type of infrastructure that are needed today," he said.

The building is also up for some additional awards, and the results should be in by this week.