The Bolivar Commercial
by Rory Doyle
Early 2013 should bring excitement about the First Judicial District Courthouse in Rosedale.
Bolivar County Supervisor Andrew Williams said at Monday’s board of supervisors meeting that renovation projects at the historic building are nearing completion and a reopening ceremony will take place at 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 4.
Speakers, refreshments and an announcement of full court services will be scheduled at the event.
“The courthouse is a big asset to life on the west side of the county,” said Williams. “People from many towns depend on it for buying car tags, paying taxes and of course, going to court.
“We’re really excited for Feb. 4 ceremony and that these services will be available to the people again.”
Circuit Clerk Marilyn Kelly announced at Monday’s meeting that the moving process is also nearing completion, as many departments are in the process of transitioning from temporary offices in Cleveland back to Rosedale.
West side offices for the tax assessor, chancery clerk and justice court were among those impacted by the construction.
The majority of restoration focused on building stabilization, a problem that had plagued the building for years.
“About 70 percent of the work went into re-stabilization efforts,” added Williams. “This problem was causing some of the walls to lean and pull away from the original structure.”
Bolivar County Administrator Will Hooker explained that unstable ground was the root of the problem.
“Soft soil and the building’s poor foundation played a role in the stabilization issues,” said Hooker. “Over the years, the weight of the internal vaults in the building and the ground giving and pulling contributed to this problem.
“We’ve made repairs to have a much stronger foundation, and we’ll now be able to utilize the north wing of the building that wasn’t available before.”
A number of interior retouches and installing a new roof were also big parts of the overhaul.
Rosedale Mayor Carey Estes said he is pleased with the progress and the new look.
“I think a wonderful job has been done in restoring the courthouse into a safe and beautiful facility,” said Estes. “The people and records will now be much safer.
“Everything was done in a timely manner — we really weren’t inconvenienced all too much.”
The main contractors for the job were Roy Collins Construction Company, Inc. and Belinda Stewart Architects, P.A.
Hooker said the building is significant as a house of law and also as a historical marker in the county.
“When you use the words ‘historic’ or ‘priceless,’ I think the Rosedale Courthouse falls into that category,” he said. “If you look at the original styles of the building, you see that they can’t be replaced — they are architectural treasure.”
Supervisor’s meetings in Rosedale will also begin Feb. 4 and continue to swap locations between Cleveland and Rosedale on a monthly basis.