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Courthouse redo has wide-ranging impact

SoVaNow.com / December 16, 2013
The footprint of Halifax County government will be dramatically altered with proposed renovations to the historic Halifax County Courthouse.

Members of the Halifax County Board of Supervisors, gathering Thursday for their annual strategic retreat, learned that it will take at least six months longer than expected to begin work to fix up and expand the dilapidated Courthouse complex in the Town of Halifax.

The delay comes as supervisors continue to hash out the details of the expansion and renovation work with court officials. Judges have pushed the county to dramatically improve what they see as cramped, outmodeled and unsecure court facilities.

The estimated cost of renovations, initially set around $10 to $12 million, will not be known until the ultimate scope of the project is determined.

Although the Courthouse’s future remains unsettled, county officials have made plans for dealing with the disruptions brought about during the construction phase.

Ultimately, the relocation of offices and services during this period will change the layout of county government.

Some of the envisioned changes include:

The Sheriff’s Department, now located in back of the Courthouse complex across from the Blue Ridge Regional Jail, will eventually be moved into the County Administration building, located on Main Street in Halifax next to Halifax Tire. Moreover, the Sheriff’s Department will take up two shop buildings located behind the administration building. The shop buildings will need extensive renovations before they are ready for occupancy.

Displaced by the move by the Sheriff’s Depatment, county administrative officials will take up residence in the basement of the Bethune Complex, which is envisioned to become the center of county government.

The old Industrial Arts building next to the Bethune Complex will be renovated to serve as a temporary courtroom while renovations are under way at the Courthouse. Once the Courthouse work is completed and the temporary courtoom is no longer needed, the County Administrator’s office and Planning and General Properties/Building Inspection employees will shift into the space, making the Industrial Arts building the permanent home of county government.

The sequence of projects is intended to minimize disruption of services as the grand plan comes together:

The first step was for the Halifax County Health Department to release some of its space on the first floor of the Mary Bethune Complex. That area will be filled by the School Board’s Special Education Program, which has been housed in the basement of the Bethune Complex.

In March, renovations will begin to the rear of the STEM Center, situated in the former home of Craddock-Terry in Town of Halifax. The school Alternative Education program will move into that space in August once the work is completed.

In April, county administrative staff and the General Properties and Planners offices will move into the basement area of the Bethune Complex, which previously housed the school’s Special Ed program. At that time, work will begin on renovating the County Administration building to serve as home of the Sheriff’s Department. It is envisioned that the Sheriff’s Department will move in by October.

With the departure of the school Alternative Ed program in August, work would begin on transforming the Industrial Arts building to serve as a temporary courtroom. That, in turn, would clear the way for the Courthouse renovations, set to begin in March 2015.

Supervisors are hoping the the Courthouse project can be completed in 2016, at which time all courts would move back in. When this happens, the Industrial Arts building will undergo one last change — converting it from temporary court space to the new home of County Administration, General Properties/Building Inspection employees.

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Comments

And Nancy Pelosi says we have to pass a bill before we find out what's in it. Now its pass the renovations before we find out the costs?

Comments

County is in a no win here. IF they take it to court, you think a judge will rule against them? Tell these judges to suck it up and live with it? Why should we have to pay because they feel cramped?
This is crazy?!!!!

Comments

What do you do about separation of church and state when government becomes the religion?

Comments

Maybe we should just make it official and privatize the courts to match the privatized jails. http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/02/23/pennsylvania.corrupt.judges/


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