The Van Wert County Courthouse

Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022

Courtroom woodcarving commissioned

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

The Van Wert County Common Pleas Courtroom now has a refurbished stained-glass dome and will soon have a woodcarving that will be the piece de resistance for Judge Charles Steele’s renovation project.

The Van Wert County Board of Commissioners met with area artist David Lepo of Lima-based LepoWorks on Tuesday to finalize plans for a carving that would hang in the courtroom.

An artist's conception of a woodcarving being commissioned for the Van Wert County Common Pleas Courtroom renovation project.

“It just looks great,” Commissioner Thad Lichtensteiger said of LepoWorks’ rendering of the carving, which he said would be a nice final touch for the courtroom renovation project. “That’s kind of like the last piece of the puzzle before it’s done.”

Lichtensteiger said the carving, which would be of Lady Liberty (see rendering at right) should be completed in two or three weeks, in time for an open house tentatively scheduled by Judge Steele for early December.

He did add, though, that some acoustical panels were measured incorrectly and, along with the woodcarving project, would have to be redone before the overall project is finalized.

Lichtensteiger was excited about the carving — and the project overall — noting he had talked about doing something similar with other artists who thought a carving would take six months to complete. He added that Lepo Works is a family of experienced artists and have done work all over the country, with one local example of their work the Legacy Tree that’s hung in the Grand Lobby of the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio.

The commissioner said the renovation project is “the most incredible thing, historically, that has been done with that building forever,” although he admitted that not everyone will appreciate what has been.

In addition to the esthetic focus of the project, replacement of the outdated HVAC system on the third floor of the Courthouse also provides a practical focus to the project.

One of the people invited to speak at the open house for sure will be former Common Pleas Judge Sumner E. Walters, the person who got the renovation project off the ground more than a decade ago.

Also Tuesday, the commissioners heard from Van Wert County Job and Family Services Director Mary Beth Holtsberry on a personnel issue. Lichtensteiger said George Groves, who drives people to non-emergency Medicaid visits and has been with the department since 2006, is retiring effective December 7. Lichtensteiger said that job would be posted.

POSTED: 10/31/12 at 6:56 am. FILED UNDER: News