Supervisors also OK third architect for courthouse

Published 6:45 pm Friday, February 28, 2020

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The Southampton County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday night unanimously agreed to a contract with the architectural firm Glave & Holmes to perform the design work for the renovation of the Southampton County Courthouse. This came the night after Franklin City’s Council did likewise.

Glave & Holmes becomes the third company since 2016 contracted to do work on the courthouse. Most recently, Moseley Architects were going to do the work. Before them was PMA Architecture.

As reported earlier this week, Glave & Holmes plans to have a floor plan and renovation timeline by May 18 of this year for a fee of $147,950, with the city being responsible for just over 30 percent of the cost. This work will include a new analysis of the courthouse’s current condition and space needs, a hazardous materials survey and a building laser scan, which Franklin City Manager Amanda Jarratt explained has not been done before and will help the architect locate any previously unknown or sealed-off spaces.

No definite cost figure has been given yet for the actual renovation work, though Glave & Holmes representatives estimated that the construction could be done for around $8 million during their interview at a joint Supervisors/City Council meeting in November last year.

Before the vote, though, Vice Chairman William Hart Gillette, supervisor for the Capron District, commented, “We find ourselves implementing balance. Several months ago we went out of balance. There’s been no attempt to address deficiencies with a judge. Nobody’s asked ‘What can we do to fix this?’ As a board member, I’m looking for a balanced plan.”

Jerusalem District’s Dr. Alan Edwards, board chairman, agreed with his comments.

“We didn’t want any studies repeated,” he said. “We’ll have to sit with the judges concerning [whether or not to build] two or three courtrooms. We absolutely have to satisfy what they say — within reason.”

Richard Railey, who served as county attorney, noted that the general district court is also used for juvenile matters.

Supervisor Chris Cornwell for the Berlin-Ivor District said he’s heard that court caseloads will be moving to Suffolk and Isle of Wight starting July 1. To which Railey replied that would “cost money and inconvenience people”

Edwards again stressed, “We did not want to pay again for studies.”

Gillette feels that the county has made progress on the matter.

Edwards added, “We need to show some strong initiative and grant this notice.”

Boykins/Branchville supervisor Carl Faison made a motion for approval, and Newsoms supervisor Lynda Updike seconded, with all saying yes to the contract.

STEPHEN FALESKI, staff writer, also contrbuted to this article.