Capital improvement project underway at courthouse in Elba


Thursday, Aug 03,2017

The results of capital improvement projects for the Coffee County Courthouse in Elba, the location of the county seat, continue to be seen with construction working ongoing currently.
According to Coffee County engineer Randy Tindell, there are several capital improvement projects taking place in Coffee County, but the current project at the courthouse is more visible. The work is being done on the south side entrance of the building, which faces Davis Street in downtown Elba.
“New handicap ramps are being installed as part of an overall security plan,” Tindell said. “The new ramps are the case of a ‘one-thing-leads-to-another’ syndrome.”
Tindell says this is because the need for a more advance security system at the courthouse building is requiring the main entrance into the building to be moved to the north side.
“It is unfortunate that we now live in a society that requires much more security than our forefathers ever dreamed necessary,” he said.
The courthouse building in Elba was built in 1903, and it has four entrances – north, south, east, and west. The halls intersect in the middle of the first floor of the building.
“The west entrance has always been considered the main entrance as that is the location of the bell tower and turrets,” Tindell said. “Many years ago, handicap ramps were built on the side of the east entrance.”
Years after the handicap ramps were installed, the county added courthouse security for users to pass through a metal detector. This security measure also was put at the east side entrance due to the handicap ramp.
“On court days, all entrances are locked except the east entrance,” Tindell said.
As part of the current capital improvement projects for the building, courthouse security is being increased again. Tindell said the only location that would allow for the new more advanced security system is at the south entrance.
“Since the south entrance was the only feasible location to accommodate the new security system, the relocation of the handicap ramp was required,” he said. “Once this project is completed, all entrances will be locked at all times except the south entrance.”
He said this means all patrons of the courthouse would be required to pass through the more advanced security, even on non-court days.
He added that the current ramp on the east side will be removed after the new one on the south side is completed.
Overall improvements planned for the courthouse building in Elba include:
• Energy Project – 228 lighting fixtures, computer power management for all computers, VOIP for all phones, door kits for weather stripping and sweeps [seven doors], caulk windows, and Batt insulation.
• Capital Improvement Projects – roof, fascia, gutters, balustrades, structural repair, repair brick, carpet, seal brick if needed, awning, handicap ramp, remove old ramp, camouflage trash cans, replace all seven (ground) HVAC units, convert courtroom propane gas to natural gas, install mini-splits (upstairs), change out transformer and relocate power entrance, repair and paint courtrooms, repair and paint lower hallways, jury and lawyer chairs, security – doors, cameras, locking system and miscellaneous construction, HVAC mini-splits (halls and security), and miscellaneous construction (circuit clerk office).
• Future Projects – Upgrade outdoor plumbing [planned for 2019], and elevator [planned for 2020].

Photo: The new handicap accessible ramp (shown above) being constructed on the south side of the Coffee County Courthouse building in Elba makes way for a more advanced security system to be installed inside the building. Once that system is installed, this will be the main entrance into the building. Also, as part of this project, the current ramp on the east side of the building will be removed.