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Prosecutors get short-term home

SoVaNow.com / May 10, 2018
The office of Halifax County's Commonwealth’s Attorney will soon settle into a temporary home as renovations begin to the courthouse — even as the future remains uncertain for the prosecutor’s office itself, located in the run-down building next door.

The short-term arrangement for the commonwealth’s attorney was sealed Monday night after Halifax County supervisors approved a lease agreement with Halifax attorney Joel Cunningham Jr. to rent the top floor of his building across the street in back of the courthouse, at 120 Edmunds Boulevard in Halifax.

The lease agreement that supervisors signed on Monday night secures approximately 2,400 square feet on the second floor of Cunningham’s building for use by the county prosecutors and staff.

The lease begins on June 1, and runs through May 31, 2020. Rent is $25,000 annually and payments will be made monthly.

According to County Administrator Jim Halasz, board members entered into the lease agreement after deciding that the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office had to be moved out of the construction area while renovations are taking place at the courthouse.

But Halasz said the supervisors have yet to decide whether to renovate or rebuild the existing Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office, which is housed in a dilapidated building on the courthouse square, next door to the courthouse itself.

“We hope they will decide which they will do in the next several months,” said Halasz, “so that the work can be carried on at the same time as the courthouse renovation.”

Halasz said the county will take over the top floor of the Cunningham building on June 1 and will do some minor work to get it ready for occupancy, including installing some carpeting and doing some interior painting.

He expects the Commonwealth’s Attorney staff to move into the new quarters around July 1 once that work is completed.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Tracy Quackenbush Martin said she is supportive of the move by county supervisors. “It’s an improvement over the current situation where we will be in the midst of construction if we don’t move,” said Martin. “And while I have some concerns, we have to realize that we all have to make some adjustments during this time.”

In addition to the top floor space, the Commonwealth’s Attorney will have access to a first floor conference room to consult with handicapped or disabled clients as needed.

The lease also guarantees her two parking spaces as well as storage space in the building’s basement.

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