Jackson County Public Works


Working on courthouse clock tower
Workers retrieve trim samples from the Truman Courthouse clock tower.

Work has already commenced on the Historic Jackson County Truman Courthouse. The first step needed was the abatement of hazardous materials in the building. This included removal of lead paint, asbestos and avian feces. Some demolition has also taken place that included carpet removal and some walls that were not original to the building.

Plans call for the building to be brought back in the 1933 style used when it was renovated by President Harry S Truman, who was the Jackson County Presiding Judge at the time.

Jackson County Assessment, Collections and Recorder of Deeds Departments are slated to move into the building in late summer of 2013. Additionally, the Courthouse will provide the headquarters for the Independence Department of Tourism, Jackson County Historic Society, executive offices, an art gallery and the Jackson County Office of Communications.

An elevator will be added to the building that will service all three floors. Other improvements include central air conditioning and upgraded plumbing, heating and fire suppression.


Drawings & Specifications for Construction Including Bidding Addendums 1-3

Drawing As Bid


Reference Material




Mid-August Update – The courthouse will be substantially complete August 20. On August 21, the county will begin the first stage of move-in. The plan calls for large pieces of furniture to be moved in and for cubicles to be installed. Since cubicles have to be wired for phones and computers, an electrician will be on hand to make the necessary connections.

The Santa Cali Gon Days Festival starts August 29 at 6:00 p.m. and runs through Monday, September 2. Before the festival starts, a fence will be put up around the grounds of the courthouse, and all moving operations will stop. On Tuesday, September 3, move-in will resume and preparations will start for the Rededication Ceremony, to be held September 7 at 2:00 p.m.. The rededication is open to the public and will commence with the courthouse bell ringing on the hour. From then on, the bell will ring on the hour from 8:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. every day.

The final move will be completed after the building is rededicated. The courthouse is scheduled to be open for operation around September 16.

August Update – The finish line for this project is rapidly approaching.Renovations are about 95 percent complete on the lower level and first floor of the building. The final parts of the elevator were delivered July 29, and installation of the elevator is scheduled to be completed the evening of August 4. 

Lights are now working in the courthouse, and passersby will notice security lights are on in the building after dark.

Work on the clock tower has been completed and approved by the architect. The scaffolding around the tower is being removed. 

Items still on the "to-do" list include toilet partitions and accessories, as well as trim on countertops and restoration of the battleship linoleum flooring. A fair amount of the marble wall panels being used in the renovations were salvaged pieces from the downtown courthouse. Some of the panels show some wear, but they also add character to the renovations and are a testament to the dedication of preserving as much of the past as is reasonable when doing this type of project.

Masons have started building the monument sign, which is located at the official front door of the courthouse on Lexington Avenue. A backup generator is being placed on top of the roof. The fire protection system is ready for testing.

Once construction is completed, the contractor will do a final cleaning.  Some office furnishings will start going into place August 21. Move-in will temporarily pause during the Independence Santa Cali Gon Days Festival that takes place over Labor Day weekend. The official rededication will take place September 7.   

Previous Updates

Mid-July Update – The face of the clock is complete, and the new clockworks are in place. Expect scaffolding to be removed sometime soon, when the final inspection of the tower is finished. The piping insulation and duct insulation are 95% complete. Installation of light fixtures continues on the top and lower levels.

Painting, stripping, staining and sealing are being continued on all levels. In the restrooms, ceramic floors and walls are complete, but some slab marble wall panels still need to be installed.

The elevator will be assembled on site. Some of the parts have been delivered, but more are expected. Workers have begun restoring the battleship linoleum that is original to the building. The projected completion date for construction work is August 20. Move-in (including installation of work stations and furniture) will start the next day, but will temporarily halt during Santa-Cali-Gon Days.

July Update – A lot of work is being done in the clock tower. All the clock ticks, hands and other pieces of the clock faces have been sent to St. Louis for refinishing. Dayco is painting, stripping, staining and sealing as needed in the tower and throughout the courthouse. Dayco workers have also power-washed the copper dome atop the clock tower and sealed it.  They have finished scraping and puttying the clock face. Pishny Restoration Services is still installing the replacement moldings on the clock.

Some parts of the elevator have been delivered. Ceramic floors in several bathrooms have been completed and slab marble wall panels are being installed. Many of the 1933 floors are battleship linoleum. These are being restored in keeping with the historic period. 

Work is being done on every level of the courthouse and everything is still on schedule for completion in August. 

Mid-June Update – The roof scaffolding has been installed and work will start on the clock and the clock tower shortly.  Rooftops units for HVAC have been set in place.  Tiling is largely completed in many of the restrooms and fixtures will start being installed on June 20th.  Workers continue to paint, plaster, strip and stain.  The footings, foundation walls, waterproofing and backfill have been completed for the monument-type sign that will be at the front of the building on Lexington Street.  Otis Elevator will be on site July 1st to begin installing the elevator.

June 2013 – Work is progressing toward the August opening. Electrical, HVAC and Plumbing rough-ins continue and walls are being repaired and painted. Picture rail is being stripped and refinished in keeping with the plan of preserving as much historical detail as possible. The fire sprinkler installation is 95% complete. 

Safway will start setting up scaffolding on June 10. It will take about two weeks to get everything set up. There may be some additional parking spaces taken up during the installation. 

May 2013 -The elevator shaft walls are complete except for the front face where the elevator itself will be installed. Installation of the elevator is expected to take place sometime around the first week of July. The spray foam insulation in the attic of the building was completed the last week of April. Offices are beginning to take shape and electrical rough-in continues. The sprinkling system rough-in is about 70% complete. The plumbing in the building was old and had not been in use for quite some time, so most, if not all, of the pipes will need to be replaced during the renovations.

April 2013 - The elevator that is going to be installed is a key upgrade for the courthouse. Since the building was not designed to accommodate an elevator, 17-foot deep piers had to be drilled at the perimeter of the base to protect the original 1848 foundation. Once this was completed a concrete floor and walls were poured to support the block walls that will be installed to form the elevator shaft.

Contractors are working on the installation of a sprinkler system in the attic and east basement. Concrete in the basement has been cut to make room for a new sanitary drainage system.

Work is being done on the electrical and mechanical systems and metal studs that will be covered in sheet rock for new offices have been installed. The original walls that are being retained will be repaired, re-plastered and repainted and the historic wood trim will be refinished in place to replicate the 1933 look.

A window washer was hired to collect samples of trim from the face of the clock. These will be used as molds for replacement trim. The original clockworks will not be reused in the renovations because of the overall expense and the difficulty in maintaining accurate time. However, the face of the clock will retain the same look as before.

March 2013 – Workers began drilling the openings for the piers needed for the new elevator. In all, there will be 28 17-foot deep,12-inch diameter concrete piers reinforcing the base of the elevator. It will take approximately three weeks to complete this process. A temporary concrete pad needed to be poured to accommodate the machinery required to complete the job. Scaffolding has been set up and plasterers are working on the newly exposed original ceilings. In the past, many of the high ceilings had been lowered and the damage left from the framing and light fixtures needs to be repaired. Demolition of the old plumbing and HVAC systems is complete. The removal of the old electrical system is about 75% complete.

Workers also uncovered memorabilia from the 1930s and 1940s that had slid into some crevices in an old cabinet.

February 2013 - Sections of the first and second floors have been removed to make room for the elevator. A pit still needs to be dug to accommodate the elevator; it will probably be July before it is actually installed. Demolition continues in other parts of the building. Many of the original bathroom fixtures will be refurbished and reused as part of the renovations. The building remains closed to the public.

January 2013 - Universal Construction is now mobilizing to the Historic Truman Courthouse to begin interior renovations. Visitors to the Independence Square will notice the addition of construction fencing and trash containers on the north side of the building. Demolition of old wiring and plumbing pipes will likely be the Contractor’s first order of business, along with installation of a three-story shaft to accommodate the new passenger elevator. The elevator cab will be custom built to job specifications and should arrive on site in June of this year. The building will remain closed to the public throughout the construction period.

December 2012 - A pre-construction meeting was held December 6. Universal Construction is the general contractor for the renovations. Eric Piper of Piper-Wind Architects chaired the meeting. Although the work will take place inside the building, evidence of construction will be visible along Maple Street on the north side of the building. A dumpster, portable toilets and some construction materials will be in a fenced area along the northwest side. The contractor will also have access to a city parking lot located at Lynn and Kansas Streets. Look for signs of construction around mid-December.

October 2012 – Bid packets are now available for interior renovations of the Historic Courthouse on October, 22, 2012. Piper-Wind Architects is the design firm for the project. B&R Insulation handled remediation of hazardous materials and some selective demolition. Construction is expected to begin in December and be completed in mid-summer. Plans call for the Courthouse to house the Assessment, Collections, and Recorder of Deeds offices that are now in the Courthouse Annex. The Independence Department of Tourism and Jackson County Historic Society will also be headquartered in the building. The top floor will feature an art gallery, public meeting space and executive offices.


County Project No. 3147
Design Architect Piper-Wind Architects, Inc. (Kansas City)
Design Cost* $492,229
Construction Cost $5,084,582
Contractor  Universal Construction Company, Inc. 
Completion Date: Summer 2013 

* - Includes construction inspection services

Project Manager John McClernon  | (816) 881-4532



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