Courthouse makes its move on Nov. 16th

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 1, 2000

Staff Writer

Anyone who has to buy a tag, renew a license or pay taxes in Pike County might want to consider doing so before the end of the month.

As of 5 p.m., Nov. 16, the Pike County Courthouse will be closed for renovations and will be relocating to the former Wal-Mart building in the Marketplace shopping center.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

County officials apologize for any inconvenience, but think it’s the best way to get the renovation work done.

The courthouse will close at the end of the business day on Nov. 16 and will re-open to the public ­ in the temporary location ­ on Tuesday, Nov. 21. All courthouse offices will be moved, as will any court cases heard during the next few months.

It took Pike County Commissioners some time to decide whether moving was the best option. After talking with department heads, computer people, the architect and a representative from Whaley Construction, which will be doing the work, the commission decided it was in the best interest of the public and the employees to relocate for what could be several months.

The $1.1 million project will include making room for an elevator which will make the courthouse handicap accessible, 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 also 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.

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," Circuit Clerk Brenda Peacock said.

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

Revenue Commissioner Curtis Blair and 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.

All along, County Administrator Steve Hicks said "it would probably be better to move our employees out. If we stay in the courthouse, there are going to be days we don’t have power."

Commissioner Karen Berry was concerned with convenience and Commissioner Willie Thomas said "it’s going to be impossible" to do business on a routine basis, no matter where the employees are.

He added, staying in the courthouse would make it "down right intolerable" for some employees.

For Commissioner Charlie Harris, the concern was liability. He was concerned someone ­ employee or customer ­ might be hurt if business is conducted in a courthouse under construction.

Hicks also said staying in the courthouse would have likely extended work about three months.