Hall County commissioners toured the county’s courthouse annex Thursday, Jan. 3, as the main courthouse edges closer to finalizing the shuffling of offices and courtrooms.
Clerk of Courts Charles Baker and Juvenile Court Judge Lindsay Burton led parts of the tour around the courthouse.
“It gives everybody more room and a much better working situation,” Commission Chairman Richard Higgins said.
The $2.5 million annex renovation was funded by the special purpose local option sales tax, or SPLOST. Juvenile Court and Probate Court moved to the Spring Street annex and have been operational since the summertime.
While walking through the bottom floor of the annex, Baker pointed out dedicated space to the Board of Equalization, which reviews property value appeals. Before the move, the board would borrow courtrooms or any conference room available.
The move to the courthouse annex also opens up room for State Court Judge Larry Baldwin II and Superior Court Judge Clint Bearden, who currently do not have their own courtrooms.
The annex was previously the county’s primary courthouse. After the Hall County Courthouse on Green Street was constructed, the annex housed county offices. When the Hall County Government Center on Browns Bridge Road opened in 2012, that left the annex vacant.
“Since they occupied it, it’s been very smooth. We haven’t had any major issues as to the building and the remodeling,” Court Administrator Reggie Forrester said of the move.
Forrester said Magistrate Court will move to the third floor of the main courthouse, where Juvenile Court formerly occupied.
Baldwin and Bearden will then take one of the former Magistrate Court courtrooms. Forrester said those courtrooms are “jury-ready,” meaning they only need to put in a jury box.
“It looks like perhaps mid-March, and that’s not much more than a guesstimate right now, but it’s the best guesstimate we can make. It’s just according to how our subcontractors are able to come and how our supplies come in,” Forrester said of the shift.
Forrester noted the estimate is extremely tentative, and officials may be able to confirm a date in the next 30 to 40 days.