Demolition of the near-century old Ottawa County Courthouse has begun.

DT Specialized Services, of Tulsa, was awarded a contract for $68,055 to level the 91-year-old building and pave the way for a 77-space parking lot.

Demolition was scheduled to begin last week but contractors had not received a required permit from the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.

“The work is expected to take two weeks,” said County Commissioner Russell Earls.

Last month, a public auction was held to dispose of the contents of the old courthouse. The county grossed $15,000 from the sale of marble fixtures, doors, furniture and other items.

Earls said watching the marble and granite fixtures leave the building was a sad occasion for many.

“The courthouse had a lot of attractive features,” said Earls.

Earls said the debris from the courthouse will be buried at a site two miles from town. The ground will then be restored to pasture.

Last year, the county completed construction of a $5.2 million facility on the north edge of the courthouse lawn.

The former IBC Bank building was purchased for $640,000 to be used as a courthouse annex. Newly renovated, the building accommodates the OSU Extension office, the Election Board office, small-claims court and emergency operations.

Stan Fimple, OSU Extension specialist, said the new office in the annex is ten times larger and much cleaner than the former location.

“You hate to see a historic building torn down,” said Fimple. “But the building was collapsing and we don’t have to deal with dust blowing in the windows anymore.”