Board discusses plans for county courthouse renovation
Published 7:00 am Tuesday, March 3, 2015
The Pearl River County Board of Supervisors met Monday to discuss county courthouse renovations and hear plans concerning upgrades to the local volunteer fire departments’ communication system.
At the meeting, Kevin P. Lewis, principal architect for Landry and Lewis Architects, spoke to the board about proceeding with renovation plans on the Pearl River County Courthouse in Poplarville.
Lewis said the firm conducted a preliminary check of the courthouse.
“You reach a point where you end up probably spending more money than you want to in order to restore a historic building,” Lewis said. “But it has to be done.”
The board discussed their options and agreed to do a walk-through of the courthouse with Lewis after the meeting in order to plan the renovation projects in store for the courthouse.
In January, the Item reported about the court order filed against the board, which demanded the renovation of the county courthouse. Fifteenth District Court judges Prentiss Harrell and Anthony Mozingo filed the court order, which stated that preliminary plans to renovate the courthouse must be implemented within 90 days.
The court order highlighted three main reasons why the renovations are necessary, including the “safety and welfare of the public,” “technology standards woefully inadequate for employees, attorneys and court house personnel,” and “aesthetics of the once beautiful and stately courthouse has digressed to the point of embarrassment.”
The court order also highlighted several complaints received about the courthouse, including the state of the restrooms, exposed electrical wiring, witnesses tripping and falling on the uneven courtroom floors and reports that the structural integrity of the building, which was established in 1918, is failing.
Last year, the Item reported that the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors was awarded $600,000 to restore the courthouse to meet the standards of the American Disabilities Act.
Lewis said the entire courthouse renovation project will amount to $1.2 million, which will include funds from the ADA grant with the difference coming from the county’s budget.
Also at the meeting, Pearl River County Emergency Management Director Danny Manley asked the board for a resolution to approve a request from local fire departments to purchase new radio equipment.
“12 local fire departments have come together and agreed to purchase 130 new radios and three consolettes for the departments’ use,” Manley said.
The board approved the motion and will send a resolution to the Mississippi Wireless Commission.
“Anytime we might spend over $50,000 in communication equipment, we need to submit a request to the commission before purchasing the items,” Pearl River County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin said.
In January, the Item reported that the board approved a $50,000 budget in 2016 for local fire departments to upgrade their radio and communication system.
In other business, the board:
-Approved personnel changes in the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department.
– Approved travel for the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department to S.T.O.R.M Conference in Oxford on May 4-7, 2015, travel to Mississippi Association Polygraph Examiners Seminar in Biloxi on Aug. 4-6, 2015, travel to Gulfport, Miss. for the Refresher Law Enforcement Class in March and travel to the Taser Instructor Course in Alabama during the month of May.
The next board meeting will be on Wednesday, March 18 at 9 a.m.