Local News

Chatham commissioners vote on courthouse layout, uses

Posted November 2, 2010 12:44 p.m. EDT

— The Chatham County Board of Commissioners voted on recommendations Monday for the future layout and use of the rebuilt courthouse, more than seven months after a fire gutted the historic judicial center.

The second floor will again include a courtroom, and the structure’s interior will retain the historic appearance and character it had before the fire, according to the county's press release.

The second floor will have offices for court staff, and the restored courtroom will provide some additional flexibility to accommodate other types of public events.

The first floor will include one or more historic museums, a visitor’s center and accessible public restrooms.

“The vote also affirmed that it is important for the building to look much like it did before, but it is critical to include updated lighting, sound, audio-visual equipment and other technology so that the building is more user-friendly for public events and more efficient for those who work in the courthouse,” said Commissioner Chair Sally Kost.

The motion included the commissioners’ intent for the second floor courtroom to be used for lower level security cases.

“This is an important point given the approved uses on the first floor that will attract more public visitors,” said Vice Chair George Lucier. “Court officials have graciously agreed to work with us on court scheduling to address this issue.”