Botetourt County Assistant Administrator Jon Lanford met with the Fincastle community last Saturday at the Fincastle Library to update residents on the upcoming courthouse renovation project. Lanford spoke about all of the particulars in moving the current courthouse and the demolition of a portion of the historic site.
There will be a lot of temporary relocations during the construction project, according to the county. The county’s current focus is on the relocation of the hotel/law office and monuments first (spring 2023), along with renovation of a portion of the General District Court building and an unfinished basement area of the Public Safety Building. When that renovation work is complete, the Circuit Court will move to the Public Safety Building and the Clerk’s Office will move to the General District Court Building.
The proposed courthouse concept calls for a new facility that retains the appearance of the current courthouse. It duplicates the existing red brick façade with white-columned portico, the building’s green raised-seam metal roof, and its signature clock spire.
The estimated cost of the project is approximately $25 million. An independent financial analysis commissioned by the County indicates that the County can afford the new courthouse project without raising tax rates. The analysis was conducted by VACO/VML Finance of Richmond.
Over the course of its near 45-year lifespan, the building has become increasingly unsuitable for workers and visitors. The building does not meet current state courthouse standards or federal standards for persons with disabilities. A 2019 facility assessment conducted by Spectrum Design of Roanoke documented extensive problems including water leaks from the foundation, walls, and roofs, failing mechanical systems, and inadequate security. Growth in court caseloads and other services provided to the county’s growing population have resulted in severe overcrowding in the current courthouse.
Botetourt County hired Architectural Partners of Lynchburg and appointed an advisory committee to come up with a solution. Architectural Partner’s team included Ken Jandura of the Washington, D.C.-based DLR Group, a pre-eminent court facilities designer in the United States. The advisory committee included Circuit Court Judge Joel Branscom, Clerk of Circuit Court Tommy Moore, Commonwealth’s Attorney John Alexander, Fincastle Mayor Mary Bess Smith, Botetourt Board of Supervisors members Richard Bailey and Steve Clinton, Botetourt Historical Society representatives Weldon Martin and Ed Holt, and staff from the Sheriff’s Department and County Administration. Retired Circuit Court Judge Malfourd “Bo” Trumbo served as a consultant.
~ Fincastle Herald staff report
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