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Kaiser Electric Installing Electrical Systems in Historic Franklin County Courthouse Renovation

The building's plaster ceilings are posing a unique challenge to the electricians

Work is underway to renovate the 87-year-old Franklin County Courthouse in Union, Mo. Kaiser Electric, Fenton, Mo., has been selected to install the electrical systems on the $3.2 million renovation project.

The original courthouse in Union was a log structure constructed on 72.5 acres donated by three local farmers to establish the original town. The Missouri State Legislature established the City of Union as the County Seat in 1825 and court met for the first time in Union in 1827. The county's present-day courthouse under renovation was built in 1923 and completely remodeled in 1970 after being bombed the previous year as a diversion during a bank robbery.

The courthouse's current renovation includes a complete gut-remodel of the 27,439-square-foot, three-story building and partial basement. Kaiser Electric is installing new electric service, lighting and fire alarm, closed-circuit television, courtroom audio, card access, and voice/data systems in the courthouse. The building's existing historical light fixtures will be refurbished as well.

Kaiser Project Manager Roger Messmer says the building's plaster ceilings are posing a unique challenge to the electricians. "They are maintaining the existing plaster ceilings in many areas," says Messmer. "So, in some areas we are having to core drill up or down to the floor above or below to get across, then core drill again. We are having problems getting the anchors to hold in the old plaster walls."

Messmer said his crew is working with St. Louis-based Brennan Tools & Fastening Systems to select the right anchors for the job.

The Franklin County Commission has given the project team just five months to complete the project. The recently constructed $7.5 million Franklin County Judicial Center, located just northeast of the historic courthouse, will be the courthouse's base during the renovations. St. Louis-based Paric Corp. is the construction manager on the project, with Treanor Architects of St. Louis as the project's designer.

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