Really looking forward to learning what this study has to present! This building houses many core government services that it is appropriate for taxpayers money to support. This likely will be on the ballot for us to decide in November. Stay tuned for more details after the study…
Spartanburg County officials will learn next week what it would cost to build a new county courthouse as part of a joint city-county facility.
Justice Planning Associates was commissioned by the county to analyze space at Spartanburg County facilities to determine how to best meet the needs of all departments. The city of Spartanburg has conducted a separate study of its own building needs and provided it to the county.
The studies were launched after the current courthouse was plagued by mold problems that forced it to partially close in late 2016 while the mold was removed. A technical advisory committee was formed to help shape a recommendation based on the studies’ findings.
The anticipated construction cost will be presented to the committee at noon Monday during a meeting at the County Administration Building.
“We hope to get some actual numbers and information and move on it,” Spartanburg County Councilman Roger Nutt said. “If we feel good about the dollar amount, we need to take our case to the taxpayers.”
Nutt said the matter could appear on the November ballot regarding how to fund the construction project. The committee’s recommendation will likely be presented to the County Council and Spartanburg City Council in April, he said.
A majority of city and county elected officials said in September they supported exploring the idea of new city hall/county courthouse complex. Nutt said Tuesday he supported a joint facility because it would save on maintenance costs and provide residents a centralized location to conduct business.
Spartanburg County Clerk of Court Hope Blackley said Tuesday the study would also be presented April 14 to judicial officials and staff for their consideration.
There haven’t been any additional mold problems found at the courthouse in recent weeks, she said. Blackley said there were reports of leaking windows during recent heavy rains, and asbestos was found earlier this year at the courthouse when some carpet was replaced.
Blackley said she favored constructing a new facility at the current courthouse location because it would retain a central location downtown, but she remained open to the possibility of having it built elsewhere depending on needs.
The Justice Planning Associates study is considering three scenarios — what it would cost to build a courthouse, a courthouse with county administration offices, and a courthouse within a joint city-county facility.
For now, Blackley said she is working to ensure the current courthouse’s working conditions remain safe.
“We are making sure everyone is in a comfortable environment,” she said. “The building is just old.”
Blackley and Nutt are among those serving on the technical advisory committee.
The existing courthouse is 59 years old. County Council members listed a new courthouse as a top priority at a retreat earlier this year.
Spartanburg County Councilman David Britt said he doesn’t believe building a joint city-county facility at the current courthouse location would meet long-term needs. Instead, Britt said he would support building a new facility where the current Spartanburg City Hall is located.
City Hall is 57 years old, overcrowded and needs about $8 million in repairs and upgrades to bring it up to date, City Manager Ed Memmott has said.
“The time is now for us to build,” Britt said. “The existing site isn’t big enough to serve us the next 50 years.”
Britt said he supports placing the matter on the November ballot for taxpayers to decide.