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Salem's Courthouse Square set to reopen this week after $23M in structural repairs

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SALEM, Oregon — A rededication ceremony is planned this week in Salem for a combination office building and bus mall, which has been closed for structural repairs.

The ceremony will be held Wednesday for Courthouse Square, the Statesman Journal reported (http://stjr.nl/1gdwR9b ).

The five-story building was closed in 2010 to accommodate a $23 million repair project.

John Lattimer, Marion County's chief administrative officer, said the refurbished structure is very robust. The project came in on time and on budget.

Courthouse Square is owned by Marion County and Salem-Keizer Transit. It opened in 2000, but occupants soon noted settling and structural problems.

In 2010, engineers found the problems worse than initially thought, and the building was closed.

Structural Preservation Systems LLC was awarded the repair contract in 2012.

The company enlarged columns that were too narrow, added column caps, and wrapped many columns in a high-strength, carbon fiber material. Stairwells and sheer walls also were treated with carbon fiber.

The repairs are designed for a 50-year life, and the end result is a structure that is far stronger than a typical building, said project manager Dave Clark.

Lattimer said county employees were worried about returning to the building, but they became less worried when after learning of the extent of the repairs made. About 350 county and transit employees will begin the process to moving back into the building.

Allan Pollock, general manager for Salem-Keizer Transit, said buses and the customer service office are scheduled to return to the bus mall April 7.

"I am hopeful ridership will increase, especially from the discretionary riders who have decided to wait it out," Pollock said.

A member of the Courthouse Square Solutions Task Force said the building's closure created a void, and downtown businesses, especially restaurants, suffered.

"Everybody is really excited. It's going to be a big hit for downtown," said Casey Campbell, the former operator of Casey's Cafe.

Another task force member, Jim Lewis, said the refurbished building could provide a spark to downtown Salem.


Information from: Statesman Journal, http://www.statesmanjournal.com

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