Pike County Commission opts to

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 8, 2000

close courthouse for renovation


Staff Writer

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Sept. 7, 2000 10 PM

It may be an inconvenience, but the Pike County Courthouse will be moving.

Thursday night, the Pike County Commission made the final arrangements to relocate the courthouse offices while the building is undergoing a major renovation. The offices will be relocated to the former Wal-Mart building in the Marketplace shopping center.

It will likely be two months before any offices are actually moved.

No official timetable has been determined for the length of time renovations will take. Preliminary estimates are that they will take approximately five months.

"There’s not going to be an easy way to do this," Commission Chairman Larry Meeks said before the move was unanimously approved.

Commissioners met Thursday night to pick up the Aug. 28 recessed meeting. They wanted to have a chance to discuss moving versus staying with department heads, computer people, architect and representative from Whaley Construction, which will be doing the work.

Renovations will include making room for an elevator, converting bathrooms to be in compliance with the American with Disabilities Act, as well as electrical and mechanical upgrades.

When all the dust settles, the courthouse will have new ceilings, lighting, carpet and some paint.

Mike Rutland of 2WR Architects of Montgomery and Charles Ingram of Whaley Construction urged the commission to choose to make the move.

Rutland said there is no way to "solve all the problems in this building with the budget we developed," but some major improvements will help.

"I can’t imagine how we could remain in the courthouse," District Judge William Hightower said during the discussion.

Once everyone had his or her say, some of those who wanted to remain in the courthouse during the construction changed their minds once they realized how damaging dust can be to computers and printers and the headaches they would have to endure from the noise of jack hammers and cement cutters.

"I don’t want to move, but I don’t want to eat dust," Pike County Circuit Clerk Brenda Peacock said.

Her biggest concern was how her records would be protected, especially those involving juvenile offenders.

Pike County Revenue Commissioner Curtis Blair and Pike County Probate Judge Bill Stone were both concerned about this being their busiest times of the year.

"The biggest fear I have is moving these records out of the vaults," Stone said. "It’s complicated."

Stone has to allow attorneys access to some 375 record books on an daily basis.