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Hale County courthouse struggles with heating issues

There is little or no heat in the Hale County Courthouse. That means employees are having to work mostly in the cold, and last week, it even affected some operations.

First, the Hale County Courthouse building is old, built in 1907. According to Probate Judge Arthur Crawford, the courthouse boiler is broken.

Walk through the hallways in the Hale County Courthouse and chances are you will feel the chill, a drafty building with around a dozen offices ranging from the sheriff’s office to circuit court.

“We’re not completely without heat,” says Probate Judge Crawford, who also serves as the chairman of the Hale County Commission.

Not completely without heat when you shut the office doors. It’s comfortable that way, especially with a portable heater nearby. It’s the breezeway that gets a little nippy. The issue?

“It’s an old system. We had the roof repaired and in repairing the roof there is a chimney, and so the engineer looked at it and said if you fix this roof problem, you need to determine whether to maintain the chimney or do away with the chimney and so the option was to cap the chimney or take it down. We chose to keep it up to keep the look of the courthouse. Well, the chimney is connected to the boiler and it caused damage to some parts and they’ll have to replace those parts,” says Probate Judge Crawford.

There has been no full heat since January 2. Crawford says they closed for two days last Tuesday and Wednesday.

This impacted court operations. The key parts to get the boiler humming again have been ordered. Probate Judge Crawford hopes the parts will be in by Friday of this week.

“And once they get the parts, it’ll take about two days to get the system back up,” says Probate Judge Crawford.

According to Crawford, repairing the heating system will cost around $10,000.