Spotlight on Southwestern Illinois Commercial Construction
Illinois Supreme Court Restoration, Springfield, Korte & Luitjohan Contractors, Inc.
By ALAN J. ORTBALS
The historic Illinois Supreme Court building had declined over 100 years but now looks brand new, thanks to Korte & Luitjohan Contractors, Inc. and a team of restoration specialists.
The $15 million, 13-month project was completed at the end of July. Del Scott was Korte & Luitjohan’s project manager on the job.
The rehab project included a new parking lot and windows on the outside. The parking lot, which is shared with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, had to be torn out and restructured to included retaining walls and bollards that have become standards for such buildings post-9/11. All of the windows were replaced with high efficiency, blast-resistant glass.
Inside, the building needed all new electrical and HVAC systems. All of the government buildings in downtown Springfield are on a steam loop so the new heating system utilized this heat in a new, forced-air system. A sprinkler system was installed on the first, second and third floors plus the attic.
All of this work needed to be done inside walls and crawl spaces between floors without disturbing the walls, ceilings, floors and woodwork, Scott said. The interiors were restored to their 1906 colors and appearance right down to the silver flaking on carvings in the woodwork. Century-old tapestries were painstakingly cleaned. All the light fixtures were taken down; sent to a company in St. Louis that repaired and restored them and sent them back to be rehung.
“The craftsmen who do this work are special artists,” Scott said. “All they do is historical restoration. The people who restored the murals in the ceiling had to wash them. The ladies that did this work were just meticulous. These tapestries were dark and dingy. You come back three days later and they were beautiful — looked like they were just painted. It is not often that you get to be part of a project with this caliber of craftsmanship and ornateness.”
Historic restoration is a niche for Korte & Luitjohan. Scott is moving on to a partial restoration of a building on the Du Quoin State Fair grounds.