Augusta Supervisors to Consider Options for Courthouse Upgrades
AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va (WVIR) -
The Augusta County Circuit Courthouse may be a historic building, but some say it is too run-down to serve the public. Supervisors are now looking into other options because of security concerns.
While no one is arguing that the building - listed on the National Register of Historic Places - isn't of value, workers at the courthouse say it is no longer functional. Despite its beauty, the problems with the building have just continued to pile on.
"Really cold during the winter, and then in the summertime they're very hot,” said John Davis, Augusta County clerk of court. "One small bathroom for both courtrooms."
Davis has worked in the building for 30 years.
"It's beautiful. It's a pleasure to work in this building. It's an honor to work in this building. And it's just too bad it's run its course as far as being adequate for the needs that we have,” said Davis.
Weather and improper drainage have created significant cracking in the concrete on the outside of the building.
Inside the building, space is an issue.
"We need an adequate space to be able to work and serve the public, and this is just no longer adequate,” said Davis.
While the courtroom has plenty of room, witnesses and victims have to wait outside cramped next to those on the opposing side of the law.
"It's a security nightmare. The bailiffs worry about it all the time,” said Davis.
Supervisor David Karaffa would like to see things change. After an extensive study completed by an outside firm, estimates indicate renovations would cost $9.5 million. A new building would cost $11.5 million.
"That's a pretty hefty price tag, which it really does dictate that we look into all options and make sure that we're using the taxpayer's money wisely,” said Karaffa.
Finances aside, Karaffa and Davis agree this cannot continue.
"It's just the time for something to be done - for the building to either be completely renovated, or to do something else,” Davis.
This is all very preliminary. A decision cannot be made to move locations without a public referendum. The board explores this issue further at the next meeting on Tuesday.
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