Vacant courthouse complex discussed

Published 11:03 am Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Charlotte County’s Facilities Committee met last Thursday to discuss the future of vacant Courthouse complex buildings in light of the completion of the new courthouse.

“They’re gonna take some time, some freshening up, and some money,” said Gary Walker, chairman of the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors. “They’re 100 years old.”

He said it’s going to take some time before the vacant buildings will be ready for public use again. “It might be four or five months,” said Walker. “It could be a year.”

The new courthouse will be self-contained, according to Nancy Carwile.

Following the completion of the facility, the secured building will house the clerks, Juvenile & Domestic Court, courthouse staff, the Court Services Unit and General District Court.

“I don’t think any of them are handicap accessible,” said Walker, referencing the soon to be vacant buildings. “We keep hearing people say, ‘who’s going to move into the old courthouse; who’s going to move in the Red Cross building; who’s going to move in (Commonwealth Attorney) Billy Green’s office?’

“Nobody, in my opinion, can move in anytime soon because we’ve got to do some planning,” Walker continued. “But we’ve got to get them out (and) see what’s left, see what needs to be repaired, what needs to be replaced, and then advertise it.”

He said if there was any vacant space, it would need to be made available to everyone if they were interested.

“But, I don’t think we need to be rushing as far as who’s going to go where,” Walker said.

Wylliesburg/Red Oak supervisor Kay Pierantoni said the Department of Social Services in the county has a big need for a conference room. “I’ve been in meetings there and it’s such an immediate need,” she said. “I think a shared conference room would be very good and I hope that’s something we can put in place.”

According to Walker, the registrar will soon be moving to the current Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court building in light of the need for a handicap accessible facility.

Pierantoni encouraged the board to not let the vacant buildings sit for a year, and when the right time comes to advertise, make sure every available person is being heard.

Additionally, Walker said he would like the Commonwealth Attorney to be located in the protected security area of the courthouse complex.

“At this point, he doesn’t want to move …,” Walker said. However, Walker said Green did express interest in moving to the current General District Court Clerk’s Office because he needs more space.

“So, that building potentially has that use,” Walker added.