Joint meeting on courthouse scheduled for Monday

Published 6:41 pm Friday, July 12, 2019


Franklin’s City Council and Southampton County’s Board of Supervisors will discuss conceptual alternatives for the renovation and/or new construction of the Southampton County Courthouse during a joint meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday in the Regional Workforce Development Center at Paul D. Camp Community College.

According to Southampton County Administrator Mike Johnson, the meeting will be “a very broad, general discussion about the courthouse” rather than a discussion of any specific architectural plans. During the summer of 2018, the Board of Supervisors had previously “short-listed” three options from Moseley Architects, the firm Southampton County has retained for its courthouse project, all three of which called for the construction of a new courthouse on land contiguous (adjacent) to county-owned property. However, Johnson indicated that Monday’s discussion would not be limited to these three options.

“Anything’s on the table at this point,” he said.

Johnson and Franklin City Manager Amanda Jarratt both confirmed that there would be time allocated at this meeting for citizen comments. Time limits for citizen remarks will be handled in accordance with county and city policies regarding citizens’ time at regular Board and Council meetings, Jarratt said.

The city manager said on Friday that it was her understanding that the purpose of the meeting would be for the two governing bodies to clearly understand the position of each locality on the courthouse. Asked what progress the city had made in deciding whether to renovate its Combined Courts building on Pretlow Street or merge its lower courts with Southampton County’s in a new or renovated Southampton County Courthouse, Jarratt said she had yet to meet with any of Franklin’s General District Court or Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court judges. She explained that this would be a first step before the city pursues any architectural services or incurs any expense related to its courts building. Franklin’s City Council, in June, had asked Jarratt to arrange for Council members to meet with the chief judges at the courts building too, so they could hear first-hand what, if any, structural or security-related concerns each judge has with the current condition of the city’s courts building.

The Regional Workforce Development Center is located at 100 N. College Drive, Franklin.