County replaces windows of historic courthouse



Crews are working Wednesday morning to replace aging third floor and dome windows at the Chaves County Courthouse on North Main Street. The work is the first phase of a larger window replacement project. (Photo by Lisa Dunlap)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

Contractors in Chaves County are expected to work another week on the first phase of replacing the historic 110-year-old windows in the downtown courthouse.

Construction crews began replacing the older – and, in some cases, leaking – windows on the third floor and dome about two weeks ago, with the elevator being used to reach the higher windows seen these last days.

“So far, not all the rains have been too much of a problem,” said Mac Rogers, director of utilities for Chaves County. “The contractors did a good job making sure they took care of it and re-filling the windows as needed to help protect our building. “

He said the works and the elevator are not expected to impact AlienFest activities, as these are coordinated by MainStreet Roswell alongside the city-sponsored UFO festival. AlienFest activities are scheduled to begin today and continue through Saturday on the courthouse lawn.

The county received state funding for the first phase, and the Chaves County Board of Commissioners awarded the $ 285,277 contract in October to Phoenix Restoration and Construction Ltd. from Texas. The project architect is John Layman of NCA Architects based in Albuquerque.

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The replacement of the first and second story windows will likely take place in 2022. This project is expected to cost around $ 1 million, with the county receiving $ 600,000 in capital spending from the 2021 New Mexico Legislature and Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. for the works. .

“It’s hard to program because all of these windows are in the judges’ offices,” he said. “But I think we would be looking to start this in the winter of 2022.”

Rogers said the basement windows have already been replaced.

The county has been planning the restoration project for about eight years. The Chaves County Courthouse and the original prison were designated a State Historic Site in 1984 and a National Historic Site in 1989, so any work on the historic structures of the building must be done in accordance with the standards of the New Mexico State Preservation Division.

“In dealing with the (Preservation Division), the windows had to meet their architectural standards, so they were specially constructed on the West Coast and shipped to the site,” Rogers said.

He said the frames were built by Sierra Pacific Windows. The windows themselves are being modernized, he said, to meet current energy efficiency codes.

According to documents submitted in 1987 for the National Register of Historic Places and the National Historic Monuments Program, the courthouse was built in 1911 for $ 164,000. A prison that was built as a separate structure but attached by later additions was also part of the historic designations.

The national program approved the historic designation because of the architectural significance of the building. The documents state that “the 1911 Chaves County Courthouse is architecturally significant as a rare example of Georgian Revival (Federal) style in New Mexico and for its association with architects (Isaac Hamilton) Rapp and (William Morris) Rapp.

Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at [email protected]


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