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SPRINGFIELD — For most of the summer, the west side of the federal courts building downtown has been covered in scaffolding.

That's because the U.S. General Services Administration is spending about $2.6 million to fix the exterior limestone walls and terra cotta cornice of the Paul Findley Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, 600 E. Monroe St, according to GSA spokeswoman Cat Langel. The building also will be power washed to remove black stains developed over time from being in a urban setting.

"GSA is undertaking this project to repair and preserve this historic structure," Langel wrote in an email. "GSA continuously performs the necessary repair, maintenance and modernization projects on its inventory to ensure that federal buildings are safe environments that can be enjoyed by employees and the public."

The courthouse was built in 1930 and weather exposure has worn down the walls, Langel said. The detailed terra cotta cornice edging the building's roof is covered in netting to keep pieces from falling on passersby.

"During construction, people may hear grinding, hammering and power washing," Langel said. "The work is occurring behind a temporary barrier to control dust and debris from filtering outside the construction area."

Construction will continue through October on the west and southwest facades. The remaining facades will be repaired next summer, Langel said.

GSA is also spending $250,000 to upgrade the building's public entrances. Work began in August on the west entrance. Historic cast iron entryway frames will be repaired and painted, and entry doors and handrails will be replaced. Updating the entryways is expected to be completed by November, Langel said.

"GSA will ensure that a public entrance will remain available at all times," Langel said.

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