Committee Proposes New County Courthouse

FF Courthouse copyWINNSBORO (June 23, 2016) – It appears that there is a new plan for what to do about Fairfield County’s beautiful but aging County Courthouse.

An ad hoc committee of the Fairfield County Council – consisting of Chairwoman Carolyn Robinson and Council members Kamau Marcharia and Dan W. Ruff – along with county administrator Jason Taylor and Deputy Council Administrator Davis Anderson met Tuesday night to discuss options for temporarily relocating the courthouse.

The current courthouse, designed by famous architect Robert Mills and built in 1823 – 1824, has major mechanical and environmental problems. For example, the air conditioning system in the building is 50 years old, according to Anderson.

Robinson recited some of the history of their efforts since 2013 to find a solution. The initial thought was to renovate The Hon Building as temporary location for the courthouse while the historic courthouse could be renovated. However, the cost of retro-fitting a temporary building for the courthouse increased to the point of being “unheard-of,” Robinson said, and that option has now been tabled.

Instead, the committee agreed, with input from Taylor and Anderson, that they would present the following plan to the full Council for approval at its next meeting on June 27. The County will propose to build a new building on 1.54 acres it already owns just down from the courthouse on S. Congress Street in Winnsboro. There are already two County buildings for the Zoning and Planning Commission and Magistrates Court at that location.

If the full Council approves this concept, the next step would be to get the approval of the 6th Circuit Court Judge, the Clerk of Court and the Chief Justice of the S.C. Supreme Court. Robinson emphasized that the County had to obtain the buy-in of these three individuals for any plans to proceed.

Once that is accomplished, the next steps would be to meet with the engineers and architects on building plans and designs and to determine costs.

When the new building is finished, the functions of the courthouse could be relocated there while the County fixes up the historic courthouse. The County already has $1.6 million earmarked for these renovations.