Courthouse options to be considered

Published 12:57 pm Saturday, February 24, 2018

Southampton County Board of Supervisors on Monday night will review options to renovating the courthouse. These choices will be presented by representatives of Moseley Architects, the firm that was engaged last November to determine the program design and space needs, as well as finding more possibilities.

County Administrator Michael Johnson has reported that since then, Moseley architects have met with judges, the Commonwealth’s attorney, sheriff, clerks and supervisors both collectively and individually. Though there has apparently been small revisions to the program design, the space needs are still close to 44,000 square feet.

Before all this, of course, was the debate over the past few years of whether or not to a) build a new courthouse; or b) completely renovate the exiting site, which would include demolishing the wing constructed in the 1960s. Following information sessions in the county, the latter option won in the referendum vote last Election Day.

One alternative to the renovation idea was to fix the main building and keep the ‘60s wing, but the aforementioned stakeholders said that was not a workable solution.

  • A fourth option is to renovate the building, keep the wing and build a new two-story addition adjoining that section.
  • The fifth idea is to construct a new building to accommodate all court functions adjacent to the county office center, its location still to be determined. That would mean buying property to make that center contiguous with the courthouse. The county attorney would have to confirm this option meeting state code requirements for relocating to contiguous property across a right of way.
  • The sixth option is to make a new building adjacent to the office center to hold some court functions, other than the circuit court; and renovate the existing facility for the circuit court and other space needs. This also would have to be validated by the county attorney.
  • The seventh idea is to construct a new building adjacent to the existing courthouse, which would require buying the Seven Gables property and demolish the wing for parking needs.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m.