Lowndes County approves courthouse renovation changes

 

Lowndes County Justice Court is expected to relocate to its new building currently under construction on MLK Drive, next to the jail, at the first of the year.

Lowndes County Justice Court is expected to relocate to its new building currently under construction on MLK Drive, next to the jail, at the first of the year.
Photo by: Kelly Tippett

 

 

Garthia Elena Burnett

 

 

Renovations at the Lowndes County Courthouse will cost just a little more than the $1.86 million expected, due to a leaky roof and complete replacement of the building''s columns. 

 

The roof has been leaking over the grand-jury room for "many years," County Administrator Ralph Billingsley told the Board of Supervisors on Monday. 

 

It will cost $30,288.96 to replace the roof. Also, initially, the county thought at least the base and capitals (rounded tops) of the courthouse columns could be salvaged. After work began, contractors realized the bases and capitals also would have to be replaced, at an additional cost of about $20,000. 

 

Supervisors also got an update on the Lowndes County Justice Court complex, a $2.5 million project, under construction near the county jail on MLK Drive. 

 

"They''re targeting the end of the year," Billingsley said, noting he expects employees to be able to relocate from the old building on Airline Road at the beginning of the new year. 

 

The current building is about 50 years old, Board of Supervisors President Harry Sanders estimates. There also have been modular buildings added onto the facility, as office space. That portion of the building is about 20 years old. 

 

At about 12,000 square feet, the new building will be about double the size of the old facility. 

 

Sanders said the supervisors will evaluate the old building once workers have moved to the new facility. 

 

The justice-court building was built on a former city dump, so the foundation has shifted, Sanders said. 

 

"We have to see if it''s structurally sound first," he said, noting if the building is salvageable, there are a number of options as far as offices or departments to move to the old location. 

 

But the justice court outgrew the building long ago, he said. As it has run out of storage space, court documents started being stored in the attic, which is not equipped for the weight. And the modular buildings were added on to accommodate temporary offices.

 

 

 

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