The Bryan County Courthouse continues to be refurbished and brought up to a standard that should have it standing another 100 years.
The Centennial celebration was recently held for the 100 year old iconic building anchoring Bryan County.
The top floor of the courthouse was formerly the jail and was not part of that portion of the restoration.
The outside of the courthouse was sealed and painted with many in the community talking about how beautiful the courthouse is now.
That top floor that housed the jail has been leaking and deteriorating from old age and mother nature’s wrath.
Bryan County Commissioner District 1 Ron Boyer said, “We were able to do a large portion of the restoration of the courthouse, in house, utilizing the skills of then Maintenance Supervisor Billy Olenick. It was because of that in house work, that we saved money and are able to do this project for the courthouse.”
They are covering the entire top with a wooden framework, then it will be sealed using a special sealer and it will be painted to match the courthouse.
It has been white and has stood out since the work was done on the bottom floors and Boyer has been eager to start and complete this project.
Boyer said, “Each window that was originally a jail window, with bars, has been removed and sealed and covered.”
He continued, “In the old days, they used counterweights to raise and hold the heavy window open. Those counterweights were on the outside, since it was a jail, so we had to remove them in order to remove the bars and seal each window with wood. Then lay the material that will seal the courthouse.”
The top roof framework will be covered with a thick vinyl type material to seal out all moisture.
The side of the jail will be covered down to the flooring of the top of the courthouse, then will climb the side of the inside portion.
On the roof, visualize a moat like around a castle.
The jail was in the center with the moat area around the edge.
Boyer said, “with that being like a moat, we could fill it with water, it will be that watertight.”
There will be drainage to allow all water to flow down and away from the courthouse.
Boyer said this will preserve the courthouse for years to come, long after he’s gone from office.
He said he was glad the celebration coincided with his time serving as Commissioner.
His work on the Courthouse Centennial Celebration helped make it a great event along with others who helped.
As a Commissioner, Boyer has taken it upon himself, as a history lover, to preserve buildings in the community.
He said Olenick was instrumental in many of the projects around the courthouse and the county buildings in the community.
Boyer envisioned many improvements and he said Olenick carried out the projects.
Examples of recent improvements are new lights in front of the courthouse by the door, gazebo improvements, new outside lights illuminating the building, and a new security system installed outside to help alleviate the escape problem from years past and overall improve security.
Olenick refurbished the area around the drug court and added restrooms in areas of the courthouse that did not have them. In addition, he did massive improvement to the 2nd and 3rd floors and he improved the parking situation for the judges.
Olenick also performed some refurbishment of lighting at the Bryan County Fairgrounds.
Many citizens have noticed a brighter area out at that location.
Even though Boyer is not from here, he has adopted Durant as his hometown and he and his wife Deborah are proud to be citizens of the county.
She said she’s proud of Ron and of his service to the community.
Commissioner Boyer said he is concerned and said it would be sad to lose historic buildings in the community.
He’s planning on continuing his work on buildings that need some TLC.
Boyer can be seen many days, after hours, at community events, visiting or volunteering wherever he is needed.
Many times, his wife Deborah is right there beside him at the events.
On a Saturday morning, he led a brigade to locate the time capsule embedded in the courthouse walls. A group had to use ground penetrating radar to locate the capsule.
People in the community say he is a “hands on Commissioner.”
He likes to get his hands dirty and see the progress as it occurs.
He is not the type commissioner who contracts the project out and waits until completion.
Boyer is involved in the entire process on all his projects.
This characteristic has saved the county a lot of money in the process. That has resulted in more projects being done.
Many of the projects aren’t as high profile as the roof of the courthouse. Many projects all 3 commissioners do are routine and don’t get a lot of publicity. One Commissioner built a bridge across the Red River. Another paved roads in the county around his home area. Boyer has adopted Bryan County’s courthouse as one of his pet projects.
He said he’s proud of his work in the community but gives credit to many others who have helped in various ways.
He said, “I couldn’t do it without support of my colleagues and people in the community. Durant has a wonderful population who loves the city and county and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
Humberto Vazquez in a maintenance man at the courthouse. He’s leading the project to seal the old jail and roof.
Vazquez said, “We are sealing the roof to keep out water. The material will cover the entire roof. We’ve been doing it almost two weeks and it should take another six weeks.”
So the next time you drive by Evergreen, look up and see the work going on at the top of the courthouse.
Many who were there Thursday looked up and said they hadn’t even noticed the work going on.
Watch for future improvements in the area because Boyer said, “I have a lot of other projects planned to make this a better, more beautiful community.”
Contact Dan Pennington at (580) 634-2162 or firstname.lastname@example.org