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What’s needed in courthouse facility?

Planning for accommodations for future courthouse and sheriff’s needs will be the topic of discussion next Monday afternoon when members of the Halifax County Board of Supervisors Building and Grounds Committee meet at 5 p.m. in the Mary Bethune office complex prior to the regular scheduled supervisors meeting.

Some discussion will take place in an open meeting, while other discussions will be carried on behind closed doors, according to County Administrator Jim Halasz.

Also on the committee’s agenda will be consideration of leases of county property with outside agencies.

With limited time to develop a plan of action for the courthouse, buildings and grounds committee members are expected to start a dialogue about relocating the sheriff’s office and how court operations and proceedings will continue during construction and renovation of the historic courthouse building.

At its June 3 meeting, the board approved a contract with CJMW Architecture for architecture, design and engineering services for the historic Halifax County Courthouse.

Initial plans call for review of schematic design and site plans by Sept. 1, with final design to be concluded by the end of the year.

Construction could begin in August of 2014 and finish in July 2015, according to Emmett Lifsey, a principal with CJMW Architecture.

The contract will provide for complete architecture and design services, as well as construction administration and related engineering services for the proposed restoration, renovation and possible expansion of the Halifax Courthouse.

The basic services fee of $610,000 in the contract is based on a preliminary construction budget estimated at $7.5 million for courthouse work.

Additional services for professional consultants included in the contract consist of surveying, civil engineering, interior design, cost estimating, security, geotechnical investigations and similar consultant services totaling $239,685.

Optional services included in the contract consist of furniture, fixtures and equipment design and move management services.

These services are valued at $108,900 and are totally at the option of the county as to inclusion and use during the project.

Reimbursable expenses are estimated at $24,475 and include billable expenses such as travel, lodging, shipping and printing which will be billed as needed.

The total, not to exceed the price of the contract is $985,060 for the architecture, design and related engineering and professional services, with the actual cost of construction currently estimated at $7.5 million.

The actual cost of construction will not be known until final courthouse design is finished, and construction bids are received. 

CJMW Architecture won the contract over nine other architectural firms.

Other costs associated with the courthouse project are still to be determined, according to the county administrator.

In addition to these costs, the county will need to hire a project manager, procure special testing consultants at various stages of the project and buy new furnishings, equipment and technology for the courts and support offices.

The courts also will need to provide some temporary offices and court facilities during construction and find a new facility to locate the sheriff’s office, which will be moving out of the courthouse permanently.

Halasz estimated those costs could add up to $2 million to the final cost of the project and contribute to a total project cost in the range of $10.5 million.