Committee recommends courthouse entrance change

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By JD LONG jim@harrisonnewsherald.com

CADIZ – The current courthouse entrance underneath the West Market Street steps was never set in stone. Wednesday, Common Pleas Judge T. Shawn Hervey appeared before the Harrison County Commissioners to announce the Courthouse Security Committee’s recommendation for a permanent entrance. Hervey stated that after last week’s committee meeting a vote of 8-3 turned out in favor of a new entrance for the courthouse to be the current state auditor’s office (or commissioner’s auxiliary office), which is just to the right of the South Main Street entrance. The door is already in place but a sign on the outside states that it is not an entrance to the courthouse. For that to happen workers would need to remove a section of wall that is situated at the back of that office, which would lead to a hallway just outside one of two commissioner’s interior entrances. From there, all the public would need to do is make two short left turns and they would be at the foot of the stairs leading inside the main area of the courthouse.

“After a lot of debate the committee’s recommendation is that’s the best entrance for considering handicap access and the public,” Hervey explained, “as well as cosmetics coming into the courthouse, access to the elevator, cuts off access to a boiler room and making people walk past bathrooms on their way into the courthouse.” Hervey added that alongside the current entrance, two entrances would need to be closed if it remained the same, where one leads to the veteran’s office and the other is the second interior door leading into the commissioner’s office. Estimation for the project were just “ballpark” figures Hervey said but did not give out a number, to which commissioner, Paul Coffland interjected and stated that it would now be up to the commissioners to get a solid estimate. “We wanted to pick an entrance so that we could get detailed plans written…once those plans are made we can put it out to bid and see where we’re at…” Hervey explained. He continued by stating that a major part of the estimate dealt with architectural and engineering issues “and hopefully we can reduce those.”

Coffland reminded everyone that they did offer all offices to submit their ideas for a permanent entrance as well, but said to date they had only received one. Hervey closed by noting that they have been working on this for the past eight to nine months and said, “it’s time.” Coffland later stated that the commissioners did not have to accept the recommendation and said the decision was ultimately up to them. No further action was taken at this time and the commissioners gave no indication of where they were leaning on this subject.

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