New court facility to be built where old jail sits

by MIRANDA McCOY • Staff Writer
03.07.12 – 12:00 am

A new judicial facility will be constructed beside the current Dickenson County
Courthouse where the old, vacant jailhouse now stands, the county board of
supervisors has decided.

The board voted unanimously Feb. 28 to build the necessary addition adjacent to
the courthouse to fulfill a court order issued last year by Judge Henry Vanover to
bring the courthouse up to current standards.

Eric Price, chairman of the county’s courthouse renovation committee and
Thompson and Litton engineer, requested at the board meeting that a decision be
made concerning the location of the new courthouse facility.

Price explained that Thompson and Litton, the engineering firm preparing the
design for the new facility, is unable to move forward in the schematic designs of
the proposed facility without determining a location. Design schematics must
presented to Judge Vanover by May 21.

According to Price, the courthouse committee along with supervisors have met
with Judge Vanover to review the schematics to ensure that the mandate will be
met by theproposed design.

“We looked at some details to make sure we are on the right track and that we are
doing what we have to do to fulfill the order that he has in place,” Price noted.
In the current plans, the vacant jailhouse will be demolished and the new facility
will be constructed on site.

Board of supervisors chairman and Clintwood representative Donnie Rife opened
discussion about an off-site facility. Rife said due to the inconvenience of
construction to courthouse employees, limited parking, and incurring costs for
land acquisition, an off-site facility may be preferable.

According to Price, the committee has considered all options and recommends
that the facility be constructed adjacent to the existing courthouse.

Willis District supervisor Gary Hall, a courthouse renovation committee member,
said constructing the new facility at the current jailhouse site will be the most
cost-effective means of meeting the mandate.

Ervinton District representative David Yates also pointed out that having a
centralized location to provide services to citizens would simply be more
convenient.

The court order was issued to address issues such as a lack of security, parking
and office space to allow the courthouse to meeting state guidelines.