• 34°

Clay Street building to house courtroom

A former car dealership building at 1220 Clay St. will be the new location of an auxiliary courtroom for Warren County Circuit Court.(Jenny Sevcik The Vicksburg Post)

[3/02/04]The Clay Street building that first housed Dalrymple Ford auto dealership will become an auxiliary courtroom for Warren County Circuit Court following a decision made Monday by the Warren County Board of Supervisors.

Warren County Circuit Judge Frank Vollor has asked for space for years and contacted supervisors again in December, saying he and Circuit Judge Isadore Patrick must have space in order to meet state-imposed time standards for civil and criminal trials.

Together and separately, the judges, supervisors and a committee of the Warren County Bar Association looked at several possible sites for the auxiliary courtroom to determine what facilities were needed.

The second finalist was the old Piggly Wiggly/Office Supply Co. building at 1529 Walnut St.

Last week, District 1 Supervisor David McDonald volunteered to talk to the judges and their court administrator and come to a decision to be recommended to the whole board.

“I talked to both judges, and I told them our recommendation was to go with the Ford building,” McDonald said. “I was told it was acceptable.”

Among the advantages, McDonald said, is the parking for 70 or 80 cars at the Clay Street building. Also the rent was less $2,300 per month as opposed to $2,600 for the Walnut Street space.

McDonald made the motion Monday to rent the Dalrymple building for three years with two optional extensions of one year each. District 2 Supervisor Michael Mayfield seconded the motion, and the board approved it unanimously. District 4 Supervisor Carl Flanders was absent.

In addition to a courtroom, the building will have to be renovated to provide judges’ chambers, a room for jury deliberation, separate restrooms for the jury and the public and two rooms for witnesses.

Supervisors have said they eventually plan to add a new wing extending over the present parking lot at the Warren County Courthouse for a second courtroom. Such an extension could cost from $3 million to $5 million or more. Consideration of such a project is probably five to six years into the future.

After ceasing to be a car dealership, the Dalrymple building has had other uses, including office space for River Region Health Systems. Both finalists in the selection were vacant.