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Butte-Silver Bow to restore dome in courthouse

By Grace Ditzler, KTVM Reporter, gditzler@ktvm.com
Published On: Oct 07 2013 06:04:15 PM MDT
Updated On: Oct 07 2013 10:08:19 PM MDT
BUTTE, Mont. -

Butte-Silver Bow is planning to restore the historic copper and stained glass dome inside the courthouse.

NBC Montana went up to the roof of the courthouse to get a look at just what it will take to fix this historic structure.

“It's a crown jewel of Butte,” said Government Buildings Manager Pat Holland.

But Butte's crown jewel is losing its luster, and leaders are concerned if it isn't fixed, it could become a safety hazard.

Holland, along with Chief Executive Matt Vincent, showed us how the glass is separating from the copper, and explained that a small jolt could send glass into the rotunda.

“If we continue to leave the dome deteriorating, it will slowly fall apart, namely because of gravity and the lead,” Holland said. “It’s just 100 years old and its getting to that point.”

The estimated cost to do the work is about $220,000.

According to Vincent, that money will come from three different sources -- the Capital Improvements Fund, the Urban Revitalization Agency, and the Historic Buildings Stabilization Fund.

“We want to try to preserve as much of that $200,000 from the Building Stabilization Fund as possible,” Vincent said. “We're confident that by having two other sources to bring to bear on the project, we'll be able to get it done and have money to work on other historic building stabilization.”

We’re told this is a time-sensitive issue. The longer the city waits to repair the building, the more dangerous and expensive it becomes.

“The dome has to be reconstructed to make it safe and viable for the next 100 years,” said Holland.

Both men agree the dome is an important part of Butte's history that needs to be preserved.

The public will have a chance to voice their opinions about the dome project at the Council of Commissioners meeting on Wednesday night.