About three years ago, the Lauderdale County Bar Association put together a report detailing what needs to be done to address structural needs at the Lauderdale County Courthouse.
According to many of the people who work in the Lauderdale County Courthouse, the building is falling apart and cramped. On the 4th floor old jail cells serve as filing cabinets.
"The courthouse was built in 1905 when the county had 14,000 people," said Meridian attorney Robby Dreyfus, a member of the bar and committee chairman. "And now the county is 70,000 people and there is just not enough room in the clerks' offices or county offices to accommodate the records or the staff. It's pretty tight up here."
Along with bursting at the seems, Dreyfus says the conditions are terrible. He says water damage and mold are accumulating along the walls. Step inside County Judge Frank Coleman's office and the wall paper is peeling from the walls due to moisture.
Many of the troubles seem to come from the fourth floor of the building, where the old county jail is. Many of the windows are out and the floors are caving in, so when the water comes in, it has nowhere to go but down.
Dreyfus is the chair of a committee of the Lauderdale County Bar Association that has been working to make supervisors and the public aware of this issue.
The committee says the solution would be to build a new building to house some of the court departments and county offices, then renovate the existing courthouse, which is what several Mississippi counties have already done.
"What we have really recommended is that they have a long-range planning process where, in stages, do something about all of their facilities because they are all running down and getting worse," Dreyfus said.
But Dreyfus admits it all depends on priorities. He said he isn't overly optimistic that change will be made.