Saturday, April 21 , 2018, 12:39 pm | Fair 67º


Local News

Cleanup Continues at Courthouse After Attic Fire

A lobby and mural room suffered extensive smoke damage in the January blaze

The Santa Barbara County Courthouse is undergoing the last of its cleanup after January’s attic fire in the space above the third-floor Public Defender’s Office.

The second-floor lobby and mural room were in the direct line of smoke, and the cleaning and conservation of painted surfaces has been the most difficult part of the cleaning process, county architect Robert Ooley said.

After the two-week process of cleaning the lobby’s mural and area at the top of the wall, the scaffolding and art conservationists will move to the mural room. The 4,100 square feet of artwork will be done one square foot at a time, which will take three to four months.

The South Coast Fine Arts Conservation Center has been hired to do the cleaning.

All of the work will be done within the mural room, since the pieces are too large to move, but four smaller pieces of artwork already have been cleaned and will be remounted later this week.

Although the insurance company is paying only to put the pieces back to pre-fire condition — at a price tag of $450,000 for the mural room — the county is hopeful of restoring the artwork at the same time.

That is, if the Courthouse Legacy Foundation can raise enough funds — about $300,000 — for the restoration of the mural room within the next four months so the same scaffolding and art conservationists can be used.

It’s the next priority project after the Spirit of the Ocean fountain undergoing restoration outside the courthouse at 1100 Anacapa St., Ooley said.

The plan is to have interpretive information for visitors available while the murals are obstructed by scaffolding, including a gridded picture of the mural with color-coded conditions for each square foot as conservationists clean it.

“I love this — this is what I do,” Ooley said. “There’s never a dull moment working at the courthouse.”

Donations toward the conservation efforts can be made by clicking here or at any Santa Barbara Bank & Trust location.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Maestro, Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover, Debit

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >