The Henderson County Commissioners Court received an update on the Brinkley-Sargent facilities study Tuesday.

Dwayne Brinkley detailed both interim strategies for dealing with the county’s crowded offices and long-term strategies for county expansion.

“Finding a new facility for housing county records is high on the priority list,” Brinkley said.

“I know this is not news to you. We’ve talked about it already,” Brinkley said, “creating some space for records and using a higher priced building for other things.”

Brinkley suggested moving the Adult Probation Office out of the Judicial Complex into another location and perhaps placing the 173rd District Court there. The space on the second floor at the courthouse could be reassigned to include the county judge’s office as well as some functions of the district clerk’s office and the county attorney’s office.

The third floor could be reconfigured to house the auditor and treasurer (both already on the third floor) and provide expanded space for the information technical office.

“There would be make-ready room for new computers,” Brinkley said.

Long-term goals identified in the study are a judicial building for the county, combining the two separate court facilities now in use. Brinkley said the county would need about five acres, roughly two city blocks for the building and parking.

A number of Athens city and business leaders were in the audience for the presentation. Mayor Randy Daniel, City Administrator Pam Burton and Athens Economic Development Board Chairman David Daniels joined the discussion at times as Brinkley discussed the future of the downtown square.

Brinkley said there was no tract of land on the square large enough for the judicial building. Daniels asked why the property northeast of the courthouse that includes the city parking lot on Larkin Street was not being considered.

“You’ve got pretty cheap dirt there as opposed to that on the square,” Daniels said.

Brinkley said he was not aware that there was a possibility of using the property that now houses the old county jail and other buildings.

“There was discussion about that,” Holstein said. “There was reluctance to tearing down the old jail.”

Pct. 4 Commissioner Jerry West asked why the study had not looked more seriously at building a judicial facility on the Murchison property on the southwest side of the square. The Murchison Foundation has offered to raze the buildings on the property and leave the county a clean footprint on which to build.

“The problem you really had is that you’re bringing into the downtown zone the need for parking without providing for it,” Brinkley said.

The lengthy meeting ended with Brinkley heading back to the drawing board to incorporate the commissioner’s preferences into the plan and report back at a later date.

Recommended for you