Preserving History, Ensuring Security for Butte-Silverbow County's Government Structures

Date Published
Oct 26, 2023 10:33:46 AM
Reading Time
Reading Time: 4 min

Pine Cove Consulting's physical security team travels far and wide across the United States, implementing high-tech security systems. This past week the team found themselves in Butte-Silverbow County, focusing on transforming the city of Butte, Montana's courthouse and police department's security systems.

If you haven't ever heard of Butte, MT, here's a little history

Situated in the heart of Montana, Butte stands as a testament to the rich history of the American West. With a foundation rooted in mining and frontier life, this vibrant city has preserved its historical charm while embracing the modern era. Once known as "The Richest Hill on Earth," Butte's rise to prominence was a booming mining town during the late 19th century, attracting fortune seekers from far and wide. Its streets were once lined with bustling saloons, opulent theaters, and grand Victorian mansions that showcased the city's prosperity. Today, remnants of that bygone era can still be found in Butte's well-preserved historic districts, featuring architectural marvels that narrate the city's past. One of the older buildings is the courthouse, built with the jailhouse in 1884. However, very quickly, Butte outgrew the building. In those days, Butte Montana's population matched New York City's. To provide better infrastructure for its growing community, the Council of Commissioners authorized the issuance of a $750,000 bond to fund the construction of a brand-new courthouse building and jail. Completed in July of 1912, the magnificent edifice stood proudly in the Beaux-Arts architectural style, captivating all who saw it. The new courthouse building symbolized progress and prosperity and served as a testament to the city's commitment to providing a modern and efficient judicial system for its residents. With its grand opening, Butte welcomed a remarkable addition to its skyline, an enduring testament to the city's dedication to public service and architectural excellence.

Looking over Butte Montana
Looking over Butte, Montana
Silverbow County Emblem
Silver Bow County Emblem
butte court house outside
Butte Courthouse


Today, the old courthouse building in Butte, Montana still serves as the venue for court proceedings and meetings for the county. However, the technology within the building had become outdated, prompting the county to undertake a complete refresh of the door locks, card readers and security cameras.

The project presented unique challenges for Pine Cove Consulting's team, as the building itself is over a hundred years old. The team had to carefully adapt their approach to accommodate the building's historical materials and design.  A significant hurdle emerged—the electrical boxes were located in the basements, posing the question of how to route cabling from the basement to all the levels.

Upon entering the courthouse, one is immediately struck by the presence of four massive pillars, each towering 50 feet high and extending through every level of the building.

Surprisingly, the team discovered that the pillars were hollow, providing a fortuitous solution to their predicament. In the early 1900s, the building relied on a unique heating system, with large fans in the basement drawing in outside air, circulating it until it was heated, and then pumping it through the pillars to distribute warmth throughout the building. Leveraging this century-old feature, the team repurposed the pillars as conduits for running the necessary cabling for the new security cameras.

Images of fans

For the additional cameras, door locks, and card readers, Todd Mares,  Pine Cove's cabling and wiring expert, had to first meticulously locate and trace each wire. Then with precision, he rewired the new technology in a Verkada box, resulting in a remarkable transformation. You can see the improvement in the before and after photos below.


Before and After Electrical Box

In addition to the pillar challenge, the team also encountered technical difficulties related to the building's casted door panels and ancient elevators. To secure the building, the team had to install door locks and card readers throughout the various areas, navigating the intricacies of the historical architecture.

Overall, Pine Cove Consulting, in collaboration with Butte-Silverbow County, successfully implemented the following security enhancements:

  • Upgraded door locks throughout the courthouse building.
  • Installed modern security cameras in strategic locations.
  • Integrated card readers for controlled access.
  • Implemented a comprehensive security system design.


Has your organization discussed updating it's security system? Below you will find a downloadable checklist to go through with your organization's decision-making team when faced with the question, "Should we update our system?"

Does your current system integrate with other security or management
systems used by your organization? Is there a need for better

integration and data sharing capabilities?

Does your system provide remote access and monitoring capabilities,
allowing authorized personnel to view and manage security systems

from off-site locations?

Are there any limitations or scalability issues with your current system
that might hinder future expansion or growth plans for your


Technical Support
What is the level of technical support and maintenance provided by the
current system vendor? Are there any ongoing costs associated with

maintenance, upgrades, or software licensing?

Has your organization experienced any security breaches, unauthorized
access, or incidents that the current system failed to detect or respond

to adequately? Are there any known vulnerabilities in the current

system that need to be addressed?

How user-friendly is the current system? Are there any difficulties or
complexities in operating and managing the security system that might

benefit from an update?

Does your organization have specific security requirements or industry
standards that the current system may not fully meet? Are there any new

regulations or compliance standards that an updated system should adhere


What are the costs associated with updating your system, including
equipment, installation, training, and potential downtime during the

transition period? How does this compare to the potential benefits and

improvements offered by a new system?

Security Needs
Have you conducted a thorough assessment of your organization's current
and future security needs? Are there any emerging security threats or trends

that an updated system could better address?

How satisfied are the key stakeholders within your organization with the
current system's performance and features? Have you gathered feedback

from relevant departments or individuals who regularly interact with the

security system?

Download the Checklist Here

If you answered yes, to most of the questions, it might be time to start budgeting for a new security system. Reach out to Pine Cove today to learn about our budgeting planning or to inquire about our physical security solutions.

+1800 432-0346 | |



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