Hart County Board of Commissioners

April 19th, 2005

Called Meeting

5:00 p.m.

The Hart County Board of Commissioners met April 19th, 2005 at 5:00 p.m. in the Hart County Administrative & Emergency Services Center. The purpose of the meeting was to hear Precision Planning, Inc. presentation of the Hart County Courthouse Needs Assessment.

Chairman R C Oglesby presided with Commissioners Daniel Reyen, Gary Mize, Ricky Carter and Joey Dorsey in attendance.

Chairman Oglesby called the meeting to order.

Chairman Oglesby entertained a motion to add the Downtown Parking Lot project on the agenda. Commissioner Reyen provided a second to the motion. The motion carried 5-0.

Commissioner Reyen entertained a motion to fund the Downtown Parking Lot project in the amount of $40,000 subject to no future cost from the county for maintenance and operations of the lot. Commissioner Dorsey provided a second to the motion. The motion carried 5-0.

The meeting was then turned over to Liz Hudson and Lance Davis of Precision Planning to present the preliminary report of findings.

Ms. Hudson noted that the purpose of the study and associated reports is to determine in general the existing conditions and make recommendations regarding the potential for renovation or expansion of the courthouse facility.

Lance Davis pointed out that the courthouse and annex structures appear to be in good condition with the exception of the roof over the equipment room in the annex building. However, modifications to expand the size of the structures can be problematical. He noted that if the existing buildings are modified, they will have to be upgraded to comply with the current code from a structural standpoint. The upgrades in both buildings for the existing mechanical, plumbing and electrical could cost $1,000,000.

Ms. Hudson presented a summary of the existing available space of the courthouse/annex and that it should be almost doubled to meet current needs. To increase the current facility would take up most of the land surrounding the site. She also noted that providing security for the existing structure is a major concern in that the layout does not allow public circulation in a way that can be easily secured.  In conclusion demolition of the current structure and building a new facility would be recommended.

Commissioner Reyen noted that if the BOC decides to proceed with construction of a new facility it would require a phased approach. They would also have to decide which offices stays downtown and which offices would be relocated somewhere else.

James Wilson, owner of two buildings downtown, urged the BOC to keep the courthouse downtown even if it needed to be expanded to include other property. He noted that "the courthouse is the heart of Hartwell".

Dink NeSmith noted that Hartwell has an attractive downtown area but the current courthouse is neither attractive nor efficient. He suggested that the commissioners consider property adjacent to the current site for new construction.

Chairman Oglesby called for a work session to discuss the issues presented.

The meeting was adjourned.

---------------------------------------------------------------  ----------------------------------------------------------------

R C Oglesby, Chairman                                    Lawana Kahn, County Clerk