Work to improve courthouse, other county building



A new meeting room for county government is planned as part of a nearly $200,000 renovation and restoration project that is underway at the Jackson County Courthouse.

The former circuit courtroom will be converted into a meeting room for county government.

The court was moved to the nearby judicial center late last year, and the room in the original courthouse has sat vacant since. Meetings are conducted in the courthouse annex building by commissioners, council, plan commission, board of zoning appeals and other various boards.

The project to renovate the room is expected to have an estimated $50,000 price tag, Commissioner Drew Markel.

It’s part of a larger project in which the county plans to spend $197,857 to restore the courthouse windows, put new roofs above the former courtroom and annex building, clean ductwork cleaning and other projects. The project is being paid for through a bond issued by the county earlier this year, which also paid for a new roof at the Jackson County Jail.

Markel said much of the work is expected to be completed in the next six to eight months.

“It will be great to have a quality room for the county to conduct its meetings in a space like this that preserves our history,” he said.

Many who enter the room will notice a handful of differences when the renovation is complete, Markel said.

There will be a bench and table midway through the courtroom where officials will sit in front of the former judge’s bench, which will be kept in place. There will be another table added facing county officials for those who are listed on the agenda to speak.

The wooden seats and railing will remain, but new carpet will be added. The original artwork that’s hung on the walls also will stay.

The former courtroom also had a leak from the ceiling that will need repaired and improved.

One priority county officials and contractors have is keeping the room historically correct with the right woods and colors, Markel said.

“They’re (contractors) trying to match the woodwork with everything that’s very difficult, but they’re doing the best they can,” he said. “I think this is a great way to repurpose this room.”

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