Courthouse location mandated

Published 5:34 am Thursday, December 17, 2015

An order from the Charlotte County Circuit Court is commanding that the county board of supervisors build the proposed new courthouse on the courthouse square.

According to Board Chairman Gary Walker, supervisors do not have an option to build the new courthouse downhill away from the current courthouse square.

The court order by judge designate Robert Doherty Jr. states “pursuant to Va. Code Section 15.2-1643, the County is hereby COMMANDED to 1. provide facilities to accommodate the Circuit Court and the District Courts (collectively, the “Courts”) by building a new courthouse on Courthouse Square (the “New Court Facilities”), as depicted on certain plans prepared by Glave Holmes dated March 10, 2015, and attached as Exhibit 1 to this Order (the “Schematic Drawings”), and as set forth below in this Order.”

The court order said that if both parties agreed, minor changes may be made to the plans. “For good cause and by mutual agreement of the County and the Commonwealth, as memorialized in writing by both parties’ counsel and filed with the Circuit Court Clerk, the County may deviate from the programmatic requirements, spatial adjacencies and general building concepts in the Schematic Drawings and as set forth in this Order, without seeking or obtaining leave of Court to so do.”

Nothing major may be changed, such as altering the location of the building, said Walker.

Monica Elder, the county’s purchasing agent and planner, said that the connectivity to the existing circuit court clerk’s office will provide a secure entrance for the office.

She said the last cost estimate received was about $11.6 million. After a concept was developed and approved, the updated plans for the courthouse saw minor exterior changes, said Elder.

“This is our courthouse,” said Supervisor Nancy Carwile. “We want a courthouse we should be proud of.” She said although there has been some debate, she believes that the qualified architects are right.

Carwile said that the citizens of the county want a nice setting and so does the board of supervisors. The most attractive use of the courthouse square is to continue to use it as such, Carwile said.