.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

Moving ahead with courthouse projects

-A A +A
By Chris Sardelli

A team of engineers, architects and construction crews have been busy working on two projects in downtown Lancaster – the restoration of the historic courthouse and preliminary work on the new county courthouse.

Chad Catledge of Lancaster’s Perception Builders presented a status update of both projects at Lancaster County Council’s meeting on Monday.

Perception Builders is in charge of construction of the second phase of the reconstruction of the old courthouse.  Catledge is also serving as project consultant for construction of the new courthouse.

Catledge said the first phase of work on the historic courthouse, built in 1828, was finished two weeks ago. This phase included work that began immediately after the fire that ripped through the building on Aug. 4, 2008.

One of the most noticeable changes to the building was the removal of the front steps, which must be replaced to meet fire code.

Project architect Jody Munnerlyn has said the steps will be recreated in granite, but will be safer and less steep than the old stairs. Parts of the old stairs could also be incorporated into the construction of the new courthouse.

“The removal of the steps was approved by the National Archives,” Catledge said. “The stairs will be rebuilt in code and then be usable again.”

As part of the second phase of work, Catledge said the judge’s chamber has been changed to a caterer’s kitchen to accommodate the building’s possible future use as an event space. This will include a refrigerator, microwave and counter space.

S.C. Archives and History, local historian Lindsay Pettus, the Lancaster County Historical Commission and County Council have all weighed in on plans to convert the second floor into an open space to be used for special events.

Catledge expects work on the old courthouse to be complete by the first quarter of 2010.

Progress on new courthouse

Danny Mullis, project executive at BE&K Building Group of Charlotte, which is in charge of the new courthouse construction project, was also on hand at the council meeting.

Both Catledge and Mullis said demolition of the existing structures on the property, including a Texaco gas station, were recently completed.

Mullis said his firm has received approval to begin work on the building’s foundations. The work could start some time in November.

Mullis expects steel to be erected on the site in January and work on the new courthouse to be finished by early 2011.

BE&K held an information session for interested local subcontractors last May at the County Administration Building.

Mullis said this resulted in significant participation from local businesses,.

“A big push for local participation was a big part of why we won the job,” Mullis said. “We have almost $1 million of local participation.”

Council Chairman Rudy Carter applauded the company’s efforts to involve Lancaster County businesses.

“I’m very pleased with the amount of effort to seek out local vendors to be a part of this,” Carter said. “They’ve gone the extra mile.”

Catledge said the application process for local companies is not over.

BE&K will hold another information session at 5 p.m. Sept. 9 at the County Administration Building. The meeting is for local businesses who want to get involved in the project.

With an estimated cost of $33 million, the new courthouse building will have more than 100,000 square feet of space, which includes three floors and a basement.

Two-thirds of the top floor will be left as a shell, for future expansion.

There will be a groundbreaking ceremony for the new courthouse on the afternoon of Sept. 14, just before Lancaster County Council’s 6 p.m. meeting.

Several local officials will be in attendance, and there will be light refreshments in the lobby of the County Administration Building following the ceremony.

 

 

Groundbreaking ceremony  set for new courthouse

There will be a groundbreaking ceremony for the new courthouse on the afternoon of Sept. 14, just before Lancaster County Council’s 6 p.m. meeting. Several local officials will be in attendance, and there will be light refreshments in the lobby of the County Administration Building following the ceremony.  

 

Contact reporter Chris Sardelli  at csardelli@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 416-8416