A section of flooring on the main level of the Joliet courthouse buckled this afternoon, evidence that the aging building needs to be repaired or replaced, some county employees said.
No one was hurt, and the courthouse remained open.
People were waiting in line for an elevator when the floor buckled and cracking noises could be heard, said Will County Court Administrator Kurt Sangmeister.
Several bricks came loose from the concrete floor underneath and had to be removed. Sangmeister said the floor rose as much as 6 to 8 inches in some spots.
Courthouse officials planned to have a temporary fix in place by Wednesday morning and had a structural engineer inspect the floor to ensure nothing else was amiss, Sangmeister said.
“I think it speaks to the age of the building,” said Sangmeister. “We put more people in here than it’s designed to handle.”
The courthouse, built in 1969, has long been dealing with a space crunch. On any given morning, people wait in lines - often stretching out to Jefferson Street - to get into the courthouse and then wait in crowded hallways for their case to be called.
County board members are looking at options to meet the space needs for the courthouse and state legislators are considering a fee that the county could tack on to court cases to help cover the cost of a new courthouse, which some estimate could cost as much as $140 million to build.
The county board last month also hired an architectural firm to review options for a new courthouse facility including building on a new site and building in the downtown area where the current courthouse is located.