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Rebuilt historic courthouse to include a new superior courtroom

Posted Tuesday, October 5, 2010

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Pittsboro, NC - At a work session on October 4, county staff were directed to include a superior courtroom as the Historic Courthouse is rebuilt. This is in line with the task force’s recommendation that the courthouse should again have a superior courtroom on the second floor and that it should look similar to how it did before the fire.

Based on cost estimates provided by Clancy and Theys Construction Company, Chatham County would save fifty percent if construction of the Judicial Center included completion of the second floor during construction, as opposed to waiting several years to complete the space that had previously planned to be completed at a later time. The company estimates that finishing the entire building initially would be less than $1 million, while finishing the space in five years would cost more than $1.5 million.

Chief District Court Judge Joseph Buckner told the commissioners that having space for Superior Court in both the rebuilt Historic Courthouse and the new Judicial Center would address the backlog issues that crop up when a case drags out for many weeks. “I also expect us to use the courtroom in the Historic Courthouse for Superior Court civil cases, so it would be used regularly, even with space or Superior Court in the new Judicial Center.”

The commissioners asked the court staff if they could assign cases to the historic courthouse that would require less security measures. The court staff agreed to look at that factor when making decisions on court assignments.

The commissioners discussed various potential facilities for the first floor, including restrooms, historical museum and visitor’s center, but did not make any decisions at this meeting.

County Manager Charlie Horne told commissioners that the county will involve key stakeholders in the design process for the historic courthouse, similar to the process used to design the Judicial Center.

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