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Halifax County supes agree to $1.4 million upgrade for prosecutor’s office / June 07, 2018

Halifax County supervisors have settled on a $1.4 million plan to renovate the dilapidated Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney, the last major piece in the modernization of the courthouse square.

After wrangling over construction options for more than a year, supervisors agreed to fix up the run-down, century-old building next to the main courthouse rather than pay for a new facility. The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office will remain a standalone structure a few feet away from the courthouse, rather than a fully-connected building.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Tracy Quackenbush Martin said she was looking forward to the upgrade of her office, although she had requested a facility to be added onto the main courthouse.

“Security for my staff and for victims of crime, and efficiency for the people of Halifax County, are the reasons I have advocated for our office to be attached to the court,” said Martin. “Although I am disappointed in the decision not to attach us, I am thankful to the Board for voting to renovate our current office. This was the next best choice.

“The Board has vowed to take remedial measures to address security in our building, which should include a metal detector and additional staff to run it. I look forward to moving on — watching the courthouse project in motion and hoping the Board reconsiders attaching us down the road.”

County Administrator Jim Halasz offered a high-end cost estimate of $1,413,885 for the project, which includes the addition of 1,000 square feet of office space, 500 square feet on each of the two floors.

Renovation was one of four options explored by supervisors, representing roughly the mid-point cost option. Renovating without adding additional space would have cost around $1 million, while demolition and construction of a new building would cost anywhere from $1.59 million to $2.65 million, depending on whether the building would be two- or three-stories.

Supervisors have not ruled out Martin’s request for a causeway to physically connect the prosecutor’s office with the courthouse, but such a design feature is not part of the current plan.

Supervisors approved the renovation project Monday night after coming out of closed executive session and holding a public vote.

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