Massive amount of work ahead

County officials talk courthouse damage, public office locations

T-R PHOTO BY GARRY BRANDENBURG - The iconic Marshall County Courthouse was one of several downtown structures to take major damage in the tornado late last week. County Buildings and Grounds Director Lucas Baedke said there is no specific timetable for fixing the structure, but said some work could continue a year from now.

One of Marshalltown and Marshall County’s most recognizable buildings saw major damage in last week’s tornado — now, county officials are working to fix the Marshall County Courthouse and relocate offices.

“We don’t know what safety’s going to be like in a year, there’s just so much work that needs to be done between the fiberglass and masonry work and the roofing itself and rebuilding the dome,” said county Buildings and Grounds Director Lucas Baedke at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting. “There’s just a massive amount of work ahead of us.”

He said construction crews are surveying the damage from the storm on the courthouse grounds and extreme precautions are being taken.

“Safety is a huge concern at this point,” Baedke said. “We have a makeshift fence up around the perimeter, basically just inside the sidewalks at this point … we do ask the public to stay back, there is so much debris.”

He said hazards include loose sheet metal panels weighing up the 300 pounds and large pieces of stone could still fall from the 120-foot-tall structure.

“I know everybody loves the courthouse and they want to see it, they want to be close to it, but people need to be back,” Baedke said. “Please don’t come across the fence right now … that will really make us feel a lot better about what’s going on.”

Marshall County Auditor and Recorder Nan Benson has partnered with Baedke in the last few days to deal with damage to the courthouse and manage offices it housed.

“Obviously, no public should be there, we’re really trying to limit staff going in and out every time we open the door it slows down the drying process,” she said. “By the end of the week, I want some public-facing offices up and running somewhere … we’ll get it figured out.”

Some public offices are up and running in different locations. Benson said the court system has “spread out” to different areas.

Civil cases are now being handled at the Story County Clerk of District Court Office in the Story County Courthouse, 1315 S. B Ave., Nevada. Criminal, Marshall County Clerk of District Court and the cashier are working out of the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office, 2369 Jessup Ave.

Baedke said he is working to clear up space in the county annex building at 101 E. Main St. to house a public office. The Marshall County Treasurer’s Office is currently performing motor vehicle services outside the Marshalltown Driver’s License Station at 2500 S. Center St.

Benson said many employees who worked in the east side of the courthouse have been able to get personal effects from their desks. Now, officials are working to clear desks and other office objects out of that side of the building.

The board of supervisors and magistrate’s offices were not reachable as of Tuesday, she said. The supervisors held Tuesday morning’s regular meeting at the Marshall County Engineer’s Office at 101 E. Church St.


Contact Adam Sodders at

(641) 753-6611 or