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Courthouse to break ground in ’21


The renovation and expansion of the Southampton County Courthouse is on track to break ground in the summer of 2021.

Glavé & Holmes, the county’s project architect, estimates the work will cost $15.69 million. The city of Franklin will be on the hook for just over 21% ($3.4 million) of that figure based on its population of 8,261 to the county’s 17,855 and the precise amount of square footage it will share with the county.

Glavé & Holmes presented the latest design documents to a stakeholder committee of city and county officials, judges and court personnel on Oct. 19, which indicate the city will share 27,190 of the expanded building’s 40,158 square feet. The county will be responsible for the remaining $12.2 million.

These estimates don’t include the costs for design work, fixtures, furnishings, a construction contingency or the cost of relocating court functions to temporary facilities during construction. But according to Southampton County Administrator Mike Johnson, the total project estimate, which includes these costs, is not to exceed $20 million.

Franklin won’t be responsible for any costs associated with the temporary relocation of Southampton’s general district or juvenile and domestic relations courts, as the city maintains its own, separate lower courts. The cost of any temporary facilities for the circuit court, circuit court clerk and commonwealth attorney’s office would be shared on a proportional basis — 31.63% city and 68.37% county — Johnson said. The county has budgeted $1.8 million for temporary facilities.

As for whether the city would receive any of that money for offering to host Circuit Court at its Pretlow Street courthouse during construction, or any credit toward what it will owe the county for its share of the project, “there’s been no discussion about specific payments,” Johnson said. “But it’s a conversation that will occur in the coming months as definitive plans are made for temporary relocations of the courts and officers of the courts.”