Fate of Pottawatomie County Courthouse unclear

The Pottawatomie County Commission likely won’t make a decision on the fate of a more than 130-year-old courthouse until sometime next year, the commission chairman said after a public meeting where advocates for preserving the building touted its historic value to Westmoreland.

Chairman Pat Weixelman, whose commission district includes Westmoreland, said the commission remains open to all options regarding the courthouse, which has stood partially vacant since most county function moved to the Justice Center. A public hearing on the courthouse Tuesday was informative, but the commission likely won’t make a decision until “four to six months down the road at the earliest,” he said. Commissioner Dee McKee told The Capital-Journal earlier this week the commission likely wouldn’t sell the building to a private party interested in restoring it.

The building presents a challenge to the county, which splits most of its office function between the Justice Center and a former school, Weixelman said. To modernize the building, the county would need to invest in new electrical, IT and HVAC systems and install an elevator. Meanwhile, additions to the building constructed in the late 1800s and early 1900s may have made some walls structurally unsound and difficult to work around for offices, he said.

(Read more: News – McPhersonSentinel – McPherson, KS)