The Kansas Judicial Center building (pre-roof damage).
J. Stephen Conn / flickr Creative Commons
The building that houses the Kansas Supreme Court will need significant repairs after heavy rains seeped through a leaky roof.
Court spokeswoman Lisa Taylor says the building could need new walls, ceilings and flooring.
“We were in the middle of a re-roofing project, and we also were having a significant amount of rain, and suddenly the rain coming down outside was coming down inside in sheets,” Taylor says.
She says the damage turned out to be much more extensive than initially suspected. Around a third of the court workforce, including all the Supreme Court Justices, have been moved to temporary workspaces in the Judicial Center.
Insurance for the roofing contractor will pay to fix the damage, but right now it’s not clear how long the repairs will take or how much they’ll cost.
Water from rain deluge damages Kansas Judicial Center, including justices' chambers
Two inches of rain fell in Topeka by noon Tuesday
Posted: September 13, 2016 - 11:59am
Following heavy rain Tuesday in Topeka, the Kansas Judicial Center sprung leaks that flowed into the chambers of the Kansas Supreme Court justices as well as the conference room, where the justices meet.
By Steve Fry
Following heavy rain Tuesday in Topeka, the Kansas Judicial Center sprung leaks that flowed into the chambers of the Kansas Supreme Court justices, as well as the conference room where justices meet.
“This is pretty profound,” said Lisa Taylor, spokeswoman for the Kansas Supreme Court, referring to flooding shown in video footage she captured about 10 a.m.
During a break in cases being heard on appeal Tuesday before the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Lawton Nuss assessed the situation and consulted with the Kansas Department of Administration about the damage, Taylor said. That department is responsible for care of the building and other state properties.
“He was very concerned about the amount of water coming in,” Taylor said of Nuss. Court resumed without him.
Workers from the Department of Administration manned large vacuum machines to extract water from the carpet.
In one view, a large recycling container the size of a residential trash can and four or five smaller trash cans were lined up in a hallway to catch water leaking through a ceiling.
The justices’ chambers and conference room, all on the north side of the Kansas Judicial Center’s third floor — the building’s top level — sustained water damage. The justices’ chambers sustained the worst damage, Taylor said.
Video footage from another area shows a steady stream of water forming a trough of water across the carpet.
Some sections of wall and ceiling tiles were bulging from the weight of the water. The floor outside the clerk of the court’s third-floor office also flooded.
On the second floor, an office of a judge on the Kansas Court of Appeals also sustained some damage.
However, the Kansas Supreme Courtroom on the west side of the third floor wasn’t damaged.
During a one-hour period Tuesday morning, slightly more than 1 inch of rain fell in Topeka. By noon, the National Weather Service reported 2 inches of rain had fallen.
Taylor said a new roof is being installed on the judicial center, and the project hasn’t been completed.
No damage estimate was available.