A conservative estimate is that the new Maury County Courthouse Annex is expected to cost taxpayers approximately $19 million, an increase from the original estimate.
The new courthouse which will be located in the expanded structure of the former home of the Daily Herald, 1115 South Main St., is expected to house the county’s criminal, circuit and general courts in addition to the clerk’s office.
The move is being made in an effort to provide an alternative to the historic county courthouse, as the building, built in 1906, has long been a concern for elected officials and local court system leaders due to overcrowding, security and limited accessibility.
When the building was purchased by the commission in August 2021, the construction and renovation of the project to meet county needs was expected to cost approximately $10 million.
At a building committee meeting this month, the board voted unanimously to continue moving the project forward, as plans are drafted.
Continued:‘Additional work’: Courthouse move likely to top $10 million in Maury County
Public defender asks commissioners to consider future growth
Travis Jones, the public defender for the 22nd Judicial District serving Maury, Giles, Lawrence and Wayne counties, recommended that council expand the project to accommodate future community growth.
“Let’s do it right,” Jones said. “How long will this project last? Do you want to spend money that will last us 30 years? We need it and this commission agrees that we need it. I think we need to go further. We don’t want it unless it’s done right.
“I think we should move forward and do it the right way,” Commissioner Scott Sumners said.
Chairman of the committee: now or never
The commissioners point out that, as expected, the project could be funded through county court fees.
Previous projects to build a new community justice center have cost over $48 million.
“At the end of the day, I still feel good about this purchase,” said Maury County Commission Chairman Don Morrow. “I would like to continue with this if we can. I’m afraid that if we don’t, we risk going further in 20 years, and we won’t. If we don’t do it now, I’m afraid it will never happen.”
The Daily Herald, which left the building in 2021, after its initial sale, will move into a newly renovated building at 609 Garden Street. The location positions the Herald in a visible part of downtown Columbia, anchoring the newspaper as an integral part of the community, continuing its nearly 175-year-old legacy.
What will the appendix look like?
The new site is expected to house five courtrooms that can accommodate 67 to 142 people, according to plans shared by the Nashville-based architect studio.
The expansion would also include much-needed holding cells for inmates, jury rooms and rooms for lawyers and clients to meet in private.
The juvenile court, grand jury and probation office are expected to remain in the historic county courthouse in the town square.
“We almost doubled what we said we were going to spend,” commissioner Tommy Wolaver told the meeting.
“It’s our best situation for us to fix a problem that won’t be fixed unless we take action and do something about it,” Eric Previti said.
The project would expand the building from 16,000 to 35,600 square feet.
Maury County landlord attorney Steve Hewlett said an additional 9,000 square feet was cut from the project to reduce its cost.
Continued:‘We need to grow’: Maury County completes purchase of former Daily Herald building
Contact Mike Christen at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MikeChristenCDH and Instagram at @michaelmarco. Please consider supporting his work and that of other Daily Herald journalists by subscribing to the publication.