By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
County to go back to square one on courthouse
Placeholder Image

Effingham County commissioners may be going back to square one with the plans to hire an architect for the old courthouse.

Commission Chairwoman Verna Phillips asked that the item be removed from the agenda and the process start again.

“This issue has gotten very emotional,” she said. “I feel like this issue has gotten so emotional we can’t make the right decision. We are not together on this.”

At their last meeting, commissioners split 2-2 on a recommendation to hire Buckley and Associates to undertake the architect’s work for renovating the old courthouse and the current jail. They then split 2-2 on re-opening the bid process and the matter was tabled for a third time.

 “I want to remove the item from the agenda and take a step back,” Phillips said. “We’re going to stop all activity and when everyone is calmed down, we’ll start over.”

Phillips said she was at her granddaughter’s pre-kindergarten class and thought about it.

“Sometimes we get bogged down with issues,” she said. “Sometimes everybody has the same objective, but just a different direction. We want to restore that courthouse for our children and our

Ruth Lee, speaking for a group interested in preserving the old courthouse, said she understood Phillips’ position on holding off on action and asked that the public be involved in any decision making on the old courthouse.

“We agree it needs to be taking care of properly,” she said. “These people do not come out lightly and they come out because they have a concern. And they have a concern about a very valuable building.”

Phillips said she would like for each commissioner to appoint someone to serve on a committee to review the work needed on the old courthouse.

Architect Jack Pyburn, who did was not one of the original bidders on the project, inspected the old courthouse, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Pyburn is considered one of the foremost historic preservation architects in the state and specializes in courthouses.