By Matt de Simone
The Circuit Court Study Committee updated the Board of Supervisors last week on new information they’ve found regarding plans to possibly renovate the Botetourt County Courthouse in Fincastle.
Several county representatives make up the group, including the Commonwealth’s Attorney, the Historical Society, as well as the stakeholders in the new facility and town representatives directly impacted by the renovation.
The study committee became active in October of last year. It is currently in a conceptual phase with hopes to have a report of recommendations to the board this April.
The purpose of the committee focuses on the needs of the court facility in the immediate future and to work with the architects providing any necessary input as it pertains to the courthouse staff, its current functions, and the community. The advisory committee will make a report to the board and provide recommendations where needed.
“The primary function of this study group is to get a modern, functional, and secure circuit court facility that’ll serve the needs of the community for decades to come,” Botetourt Deputy County Administrator David Moorman explained.
According to Moorman, the current courthouse facility has environmental and security deficiencies. Due to the location of the courthouse, Moorman and the study group fully understand the importance of this project for the Town of Fincastle and the community. Conceptually, the group feels this project could revitalize the courthouse square and rejuvenate some of the surrounding public spaces. The committee and architects continue to consider their options.
These options include a complete renovation of the courthouse, building expansion with a renovation, some minimal demolition, or a complete demolition and rebuild. Once the committee members make their decision, they will report to the board. As of right now, no decisions have been made in terms of these options.
County Supervisor Steve Clinton thinks this project will “profoundly” affect the courthouse’s daily operations.
“The new facilities will significantly streamline the internal operations of the judicial and law enforcement process by placing related activities adjacent to one another,” Clinton stated. “This will improve efficiency, reduce wasted motion, and improve safety and security.”
Clinton went on to explain that the initial plans are designed to make the courthouse area more inviting to the public, easily acceptable, and set in comfortable surroundings.
“The project will create a center of gravity for public gatherings in downtown Fincastle,” Clinton continued. “This can have enormous influence in building a sense of community for the town and for the county.”
Clinton feels this project could administer a “renaissance” for Fincastle as the county seat.
According to Dr. Richard Bailey, the supervisor representing the Fincastle District, feedback regarding possible renovations to the courthouse has been positive.
“Most people who are familiar with our facility understand its shortcomings,” Bailey said. “Those that have questioned this project are generally quick to agree that now is the time to move forward after understanding the current situations that must be addressed.”
The project is still in the early design phase. While a timeline is still uncertain, the group continues to gather more information to prepare a new report to the Board of Supervisors later next month.