County courthouse renovation nears finish

Published 9:05 pm Monday, February 12, 2024

The Southampton County Courthouse renovation project is nearing its conclusion according to the latest report from County Administrator Brian S. Thrower.

At the county Board of Supervisors’ Jan. 23 meeting, Thrower said that “per the latest schedule provided by Heartland Construction, substantial completion is slated to occur on March 4 of this year and final completion around the first of April. So we’re getting closer to that project completing.”

The renovation project was previously scheduled to be complete in April 2023.

In a Dec. 27, 2022, interview, Thrower explained why the completion date had been pushed back to — at that point — January 2024.

“The primary reason for the delay in (Heartland Construction Inc.’s) schedule is a result of damage to an underground electrical primary and Dominion Energy transformer serving the adjacent jail property resulting from demolition activities at the courthouse property,” he said.

In a Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024, interview, Thrower indicated that this reason for delay continues to influence the project and is connected to why completion has been pushed back again from January to the spring.

“The schedule I give everybody is the schedule that Heartland gives us, so that’s constantly changing,” he said. “But all that kind of ties back to the original issue with the power issues with Dominion Energy.”

He said, “The main issue has been not getting the permanent power in place through Dominion Energy up until this time, and they just put in the permanent power at the end of December (2023).”

Referring to the frequently changing substantial and final completion dates, he said, “All that stems still from all those initial Dominion issues that have pretty much cascaded and rippled all the way to this point now with the permanent power. So that’s, in effect, the reason.”

He noted that March 4 and around April 1 remained the substantial and final completion dates, respectively, as of Feb. 6.

The renovation project has been entering a detail-heavy phase, as the county is working on procuring furniture and audio-video equipment packages.

“We’re trying to finalize cabling,” Thrower said. “Some of this stuff was outside of the responsibility of Heartland, like the cabling part. And then you get into a lot of stuff with Verizon and Spectrum — just the stuff you would get into with any house but on a much bigger scale for a project like this. 

“Hopefully we’ll be moving everybody (over) in April or May,” he said. “It’ll be a busy few months.”

During his presentation to the Board of Supervisors on Jan. 23, he went over the relevant financial information relevant to the renovation project.

“The total construction contract, including change orders, now stands at $23,882,989.14,” he said. “And you do have the latest certified pay application. And to date we’ve processed the contractor’s first 26 pay applications and paid them $20,870,858.44.”

The original Heartland contract amount for the renovation project was $21,583,053.