A total replacement of the courthouse roof, after much delay, has finally brought a construction zone to court square.
With a larger crane on site than originally anticipated, the work has required the closure of Foote Street.
Workers have started on the west side and will go across to the east.
“Right now, they are tearing all the old structure off down to the rafters and doing any kind of wood repair that needs to be done,” said Alcorn County Purchase Clerk Bobby Burns, who is coordinating with the contractor for the county.
Dealing with wood that is over 100 years old, those repairs could be extensive before work begins to install the new roof – the first total roof replacement in the life of the historic structure, which was built in 1918.
The building has developed numerous problems with leaks.
An analysis of the courthouse roof found it had seven layers, and another could not be added because of the weight.
Construction was initially expected to get rolling last fall. The elaborate, hand-molded cornice work took longer than anticipated to prepare, and other delays related to the pandemic emerged.
Offices of the courthouse are remaining open during the work, which is hoped to be completed in the next few months.
B Four Plied of Memphis holds the contract for the project, which was awarded at a cost of $679,973.
The roof replacement may be just the beginning of renovations for the historic structure. The Board of Supervisors has a suggested slate of renovations in hand, with the courtroom being the main focus. The move toward renovations has come about as a result of the pandemic and the need for more room for social distancing.
The board on Monday voted to retain the architectural firm that prepared the renovation report to seek grant opportunities to fund the work. The estimated cost of everything recommended in the architect’s analysis is $2.16 million. For only courtroom and support space restoration on the second and third floors of the historic courthouse, the estimated cost is $1.51 million.