Historic Napa Courthouse Reopens

February 5, 2019

County officials formally celebrated the re-opening of the Napa County Historic Courthouse with a ribbon cutting ceremony on January 22, nearly four and half years after the building sustained major damage in the South Napa Earthquake.

The two-story masonry building, originally constructed in 1879, experienced severely cracked interior and exterior walls, collapsed ceilings, and a prominent collapse of the building cornice at the southeast corner. Fortunately, the August 24, 2014 earthquake happened at 3:20 in the morning when the building was unoccupied – preventing what could have been serious injuries to the staff and public.

Historic Napa Courthouse, Napa Earthquake, TLCD Architecture

Historic Napa Courthouse, Napa Earthquake, TLCD Architecture

Napa County Public Works hired AECOM as the project and construction manager for the repair of the courthouse. AECOM’s team included Carey & Company (now HLTreanor) as the historic architect, ZFA Structural Engineers and TLCD Architecture as the code compliance architect to design the repairs of the damaged building.

The following four plus years involved a complicated process of stabilizing the damaged building, relocating the Courts to other facilities, doing a thorough assessment of the building structural systems and infrastructure, design of the repairs, coordination with the County’s insurance carrier, and construction to return the building to pre-earthquake conditions.

 

Historic Napa Courthouse, Napa Earthquake, TLCD Architecture

Historic Napa Courthouse, Napa Earthquake, TLCD Architecture

The Courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and repairs were subject to the requirements of the California Historic Building Code. TLCD prepared the code analysis for review by the local authorities, evaluated the accessibility requirements to be applied to the historic building, and provided the related design recommendations.

The repairs required a thoughtful approach to preserve the historic fabric of the original Courthouse, while improving access to the public. A structural design using multiple methodologies was employed to repair the structure, while limiting the impact to the original building spaces. A combination of grout injection, brick reconstruction, replacement with concrete masonry and use of fiber reinforced cementious material overlays were implemented.

Care was taken to remove all existing millwork and built-in cabinetry for repair and reinstallation. Castings were taken of original plaster moldings so that they could be replicated at damaged areas. Automatic door operators were installed to improve accessibility at doorways and restrooms were renovated to meet accessibility requirements.

Historic Napa Courthouse, Napa Earthquake, TLCD Architecture

Historic Napa Courthouse, Napa Earthquake, TLCD Architecture

County staff, along with the design team, contractors, the insurance company and the courts worked diligently to push the project forward to completion. With pride, the courthouse has been returned to its historic splendor!

Read Napa Valley Register Article:
Napa County Celebrates Rebirth of Quake-Damaged Courthouse