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Stakeholders review design elements with lead Architect Victor Jones (Jenkins-Peer Architects) and court planning specialist Stacey Wiseman (TreanorHL)
Photo courtesy of Alexander County Government

Planning Underway For Potential New Courthouse In Alexander County

Alexander County is taking preliminary steps toward planning for a potential new courthouse facility. The county has contracted with the firm of Jenkins-Peer Architects, located in Charlotte, to provide programming, planning, and conceptual design services for a new courthouse in Alexander County. The new facility, if constructed, would replace the current courthouse which was built after the prior courthouse was destroyed by fire in 1967.

To facilitate the process, the Alexander County Courthouse Committee, architects, and stakeholders participated in a visioning forum on August 8-10. County officials have cited numerous deficiencies in courtroom space and design, lack of proper jury facilities, and inadequate office space for court officials as some of the factors driving the decision to move forward with exploring the feasibility of constructing a new courthouse.

The current actions being taken by the Alexander County Board of Commissioners will provide the preliminary design concept and cost estimate necessary for the board to make the most informed decision on whether to move forward with construction. Marty Pennell, Chairman of the Alexander County Board of Commissioners, said that he plans to petition the state for funding if a new courthouse is going to be constructed.

The initial step in the programming and concept design process is to evaluate the needs of all courthouse users. On August 8, that process began as staff hosted a visioning session which kicked off a two-and a-half day planning and information gathering process.

During the visioning session, the architects and county staff met with a large group of stakeholders to gather input on a broad range of topics including overall space needs, adjacency diagrams for interconnected spaces, security and access control concerns, and initial design features. The visioning session then led into numerous meetings with specific user groups over the course of the next two days where more in-depth discussions were held to fully explore needs specific to those spaces and users.

The results of these meetings will be compiled and analyzed by the architectural firm which will present its findings to the courthouse committee for review and discussion. Work sessions between the committee and Jenkins-Peer Architects is expected to continue until sometime in December when a finalized scope and opinion of probable cost will be presented to the Alexander County Board of Commissioners.

Courthouse committee members worked with Jenkins-Peer Architects early on to explore how the new building could be constructed on the existing site while still maintaining full operation of the current facility. County staff expect to have the results of the programming process ready for review as early as January 2024. Additional information about the project will be shared as it becomes available.

[News release from Gary Herman, Alexander County Public Information Officer]