Cost, Disruption, Long Range Needs all Issues for Hall County Courthouse


Hall County weighs concerns like cost versus disruption versus long term planning, as they continue in the process of deciding what to do with an aging courthouse.

Those who work in the courthouse are concerned about a major construction project and the inevitable disruptions it would create.

Members of the Hall County Board are clearly concerned with cost and making sure whatever they do stands the test of time.

That includes planning for future technology. Already they do some court hearings by video from the jail.

Hall County Attorney Mark Young said, "Using video for the overnight arraignment, and starting to use A/V equipment for some of the juveniles that are detained like in Madison so we're not paying to haul them back and forth."

Where the Hall County Attorney was concerned was the disruptive nature of construction, especially a plan that would build an addition directly on the back of the historic courthouse.

Another option would be remodeling the old jail and police station, but that's not as appealing.

Supervisor Scott Arnold said, "Through the presentation I've come to the conclusion it's not feasible to use the old Public Safety Center building. Plus, we are still going to have needs for space besides the courthouse. "

Board members appear to be narrowing down the options, preferring either an addition directly behind the courthouse or an addition to the south, with a new shared entrance.

Some of the options could eliminate parking, which is already scarce.

Safety is also an issue, keeping inmates separate from judges and staff and the general public.

Last week, the county released preliminary figures, showing the project could cost $10-14 million.