How far the upcoming Alcorn County Courthouse renovation will go continues to be a topic of discussion.
Representatives of Belinda Stewart Architects met with the board in a special session last week to try to narrow the direction for the upcoming project. It appears the renovation is likely to include, at a minimum, restoring the courtroom floor to its original footprint and providing egresses from that floor. More than the one staircase will be required in order to meet code.
It is anticipated not all of the current occupants of the courthouse will return once the renovation is complete. The county has been looking at some options for housing certain offices at other properties.
The architects see opportunities to make some changes for the better in certain spaces of the historic building.
“There’s a lot of space in this building that’s just not utilized very well,” said architect Landon Voller.
The courtroom floor encompasses 8,140 square feet. The entire space will likely be dedicated to day-of-court activities and may provide some needs that the courthouse currently does not have, such as a holding cell for inmates who are waiting for circuit court appearances.
Voller said old photographs that show the original finishes of the building are still needed.
The county is expecting to relocate offices during the renovation work because of the noise, dust and other disruptions. The project will also affect activities around elections.
The architects are currently looking to reach the bid phase around the end of the year with construction expected to take about a year.
Examination of the building for asbestos and a study of acoustics in the courtroom are anticipated. Restoring the ceiling to the original height will significantly change the room’s acoustic properties.
The Mississippi Legislature allocated $1 million toward the courthouse renovation in the recently concluded session. Other funding is also going toward the project.