Board of Supervisors move forward with courthouse renovations

Published 7:00 am Thursday, March 19, 2015

NEW MEMBER: Gray Swoope speaks to the board about his plans for economic development in Pearl River County. Photo by Ashley Collins.

NEW MEMBER: Gray Swoope speaks to the board about his plans for economic development in Pearl River County. Photo by Ashley Collins.

The Pearl River County Board of Supervisors met Wednesday to discuss moving forward with courthouse renovations, among other county issues.

At the meeting, Kevin P. Lewis, principal architect for Landry and Lewis Architects, spoke to the board about two viable options from which the board can choose in order to move forward with the renovations for the Pearl River County Courthouse in Poplarville.

At the last meeting, Lewis, including the board of supervisors, did a walk-through of the courthouse to plan the renovation projects.

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After Lewis presented both options, the board decided to move forward with the first phase of the first option. Option one is broken down into different phases; the first phase is to refinish the courtroom and bathrooms under the $1.2 million grant, which will include funds from the ADA grant with the difference coming from the county’s budget.

“We will be replacing the carpet, refinishing plaster walls and ceiling and refinishing the bathrooms, including making the entrances ADA compliant,” Lewis said.

Another phase included in option one is to construct annex buildings alongside the courthouse.

District I Supervisor Anthony Hales said he agrees to move forward with the renovations, but disagrees with Lewis’ plan.

“This isn’t a deep enough commitment to fix the problem, we can do these fixes, but years later, the same problems might come up in the courthouse,” Hales said.

The board, including District II Supervisor Malcolm Perry, agreed to move forward with phase one.

“Let’s move on with phase one and that will give us time to research and think about the rest of the options,” Perry said.

Also at the meeting, Gray Swoope introduced himself to the board as a new member of the economic development team with the Butler Snow law firm in Hattiesburg, which is under contract with the county.

“I’m looking forward to working with you guys,” he said. “I believe one of the assets of this county is the Pearl River Community College.”

The board welcomed Swoope into the county.

“You were very helpful in helping us get grants after Katrina and getting money for some of our buildings here in the county,” Lumpkin said. “So we’re looking forward to working with you.”

In other business, the board:

—Approved travel for Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department to attend Superior Concealment Detection in Baton Rouge, La. on March 18-20, 2015 and travel to attend First Line Supervision in Biloxi, Miss. on July 13, 2015.

—Approved personnel changes in the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department.

—Approved travel for the planning department to attend the AFMM Spring Conference in Natchez, Miss. on May 4-7, 2015.

—Approved travel for the tax department to attend STC Recertification in Bay St. Louis, Miss. on April 28, 2015, travel to attend the STC recertification in Hattiesburg, Miss. on April 9, 2015, travel to attend the Collector of Revenue II in Hattiesburg, Miss. on March 23-27, 2015 and travel to attend Certified Appraisers Challenge Exam in Clinton, Miss. on March 18, 2015.

—Approved travel for the chancery clerk and county administrator to attend a workshop in Jackson, Miss. on April 15-16, 2015.

—Approved travel for the county court department to attend training in Biloxi, Miss. on April 22-24, 2015.

—Approved travel for the emergency management director to attend the National Hurricane Conference in Austin, Tex. on March 29-April 2, 2015.

The next board meeting will be on Monday, April 6 at 9 a.m.