Letter: Masonry restoration owner offers views on courthouse renovationTO THE EDITOR: Regarding the Ellsworth Courthouse renovation:
By: Mel Erickson, owner M&M Masonry Restoration, River Falls, Pierce County Herald
TO THE EDITOR: Regarding the Ellsworth Courthouse renovation:
1. Large number of cracks on lower blocks at the roof level supporting dome. The blocks must be replaced, not tuck-pointed.
2. Wrong mortar mix was used (not hand mixed) and should have been placed in two lifts.
3. Sandstone foundation is spalling and needs to be stabilized and sealed.
4. Dome was a poor original design and must be corrected at point of contact with base and brackets designed and installed.
5. Were stryker joints maintained on caulking?
Sound engineering design would dictate a direct connection from the stringers in the dome to the steel tension rods in the lower level. Wood decay and cracking have left these rods loose and not doing the job they were intended to do.
Also, the inner and outer stringers are depending on some 16 penny nails toenailed in to keep the dome from blowing away. Steel plates would spread the load and accomplish this connection. We would draw up, have built and installed the plates. This would then allow us to preload the rods to their proper tension.
With the decayed wood fixed and these design changes implemented, the dome would be more resistant to high winds, especially spring and summer storms. It is my opinion as an engineer for 36 years that winds in the 75 mph-plus range could cause catastrophic damage to the dome in its present condition.