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Lee County Courthouse

Foundation Stabilization and Structural Repairs

Project Description

This historic courthouse in Giddings, Texas was built in 1898 and is one of many landmark courthouses in Texas designed by J. Riely Gordon.  Over the years, it experienced numerous and ongoing problems related to foundation movement and had associated cracking.  The solution called for a massive excavation in order to pour a stabilizing spread footing below the foundation.

 

Excavating for the Spread Footing 

The Courthouse perimeter was excavated over 16 feet down to reach down to its age-old base unexposed since the original construction.  The objective of pouring a beam to stabilize the original foundation turned into a major reconstruction of the foundation itself.

Repairing Foundation Voids

Significant foundation voids were discovered throughout the perimeter, and SCS had to continue excavating to extend over 20 feet to expose the foundation. Massive reinforcement enclosures had to be built within the foundation voids, and each void had to be pumped with concrete. Finally, the spread footing could be poured, and the structure perimeter refilled and restored.

Challenges and Results

Restoration of historic structures is challenging because what lies beyond the surface can be a costly unknown.  The challenges of this project were many.  The courthouse had to be protected during the excavation process, the excavation had to be meticulous so as not to damage any historic artifacts, and County operations had to remain open during the massive excavation.  When the unforeseen voids in the foundation were discovered, SCS stepped up to work toward solutions to keep the job on track and the County within their strict budget.  The resulting comprehensive restoration will add many more years to the life of this historic courthouse.