Courthouse options include new facility

Published 10:57 am Tuesday, October 27, 2009

WINTON – If the Hertford County Commissioners choose to build a new courthouse, they have two options to consider.

During a recent meeting of the board, Pete Cayado of Ware Bonsall Architects presented several options that included renovating the Hertford County Courthouse and the possibility of building a new Hertford County Judicial Center.

The renovation option was at a cost of just over $3.3 million, but addressed none of the space constraints of the current facility.

Cayado presented commissioners with a pair of options should they choose to build a new facility, which would be located across the street from the current courthouse in what is now a county-owned parking lot.

The first proposal, labeled option 2A, is simply building a new structure that would take in most of the space needs by the current occupants of the courthouse. It would allow for expansion of the current Clerk of Superior Court’s office as well as the Register of Deeds office.

“Option 2A is roughly 31,000 square feet and adds nothing that is not already included in the current courthouse,” Cayado told the commissioners.

The estimated construction cost for the new Hertford County Judicial Center would be approximately $5.12 million with an additional $384,000 going for furnishings and another $461,000 for design fees and estimates. The total project cost is estimated at slightly more than $6.3 million.

The presentation offered would have the judicial center become a two-story facility with the bottom floor used by the Clerk of Court and Register of Deeds and the second floor housing two court rooms and a multipurpose room which could be used for magistrate court, district court, grand jury or jury assembly meetings.

Overall, the facility would have two fully functional courtrooms, each with a deliberation room, judge’s chamber and holding cells. It would also have a functional and secure sallyport and inmate transfer/holding area.

There would be work space for Probation and Parole, the District Attorney, juvenile service intake and custody mediator as well as a building security office. Two office spaces would be provided for judges and support staff.

The main difference in option 2A and option 2B would be the addition of Probation and Parole and the District Attorney’s office to the Hertford County Judicial Center. Currently Probation and Parole is spread out in three different buildings while the county is paying $30,000 per year for lease of the District Attorney’s office, currently located in Ahoskie.

The second proposal would provide for building a structure that is approximately 40,600 square feet. It would provide for the 10-15 year space needs for the Clerk of Superior Court and Register of Deeds as well as moving the two other offices into the judicial center.

The construction cost for option 2B would be slightly higher at $6.4 million with a total cost of nearly $8 million.

Cayado told the board that the committee put together to study the courthouse needs recommended option 2B for consideration by the commissioners. Commissioner William F. Mitchell Jr. and Commissioner Curtis A. Freeman each said they would prefer that option as well.

Commissioners are likely to take up the subject at their next meeting, scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday, November 2.