Weather Underlines Courthouse Condition

By: Lindsey Brown Email
By: Lindsey Brown Email

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.

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  • by Julie Location: Meridian on Nov 22, 2010 at 09:38 AM
    WTOK: The use of "underlines" is still not appropriate. You already said that "weather" was the cause of the courthouse conditions; therefore, "undermines" would have been the better choice. By "weather underlines", you are being redundant.
  • by WTOK on Nov 22, 2010 at 07:59 AM
    Your suggestion would have also been fine. But the word we chose was to show emphasis, that the amount of rain within a short time exacerbated the ongoing problem.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 21, 2010 at 02:15 PM
    morons that got the project started.. moreover haired fools to do the work.. all this is showing big time.. this project should have been shut down long ago as well as all the other projects the old fool mayor and council did.. all this was back room deals to the max and little was told to the public about the terms and condition's and history of all theses companies that are tired to them like the cross roads as well..
  • by Julie Location: Meridian on Nov 20, 2010 at 04:48 PM
    WTOK: Just a thought, you understand----shouldn't the title of this article be "weather UNDERMINES court house condition"? Wrong choice of words, isn't it? But what else is new with you all? Obviously, not much.
  • by but who am I???? Location: Mdn on Nov 18, 2010 at 08:46 AM
    How is it that the city can pay some guy thousands of dollars to come to Meridan to see how we can revitalized downtown but not take care of the important buildings of our city????
  • by Anonymous on Nov 18, 2010 at 06:45 AM
    The old mall would make a good "justice complex". Why not house all courts, city/justice/circuit/county/chancery/youth/drug in that building along with the sheriff's dept. and city police. There would be room to spare.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 17, 2010 at 11:30 AM
    The court house is a disgrace for Meridian. We have buildings falling down all over the city & county. It is sad that our community looks the way it does. I have been in the court house & I tell you I would hate to have to work there. It is nasty.
  • by Joe Location: Meridian on Nov 17, 2010 at 06:25 AM
    I see the lawyers are involved. Where's the report from somebody actually qualified to make and assessment of the building's structural and environmental integrity? So the offices are cramped? At least you have an office! To the point of a previous post; replace the broken windows!!
  • by RR Location: lauderdale county on Nov 17, 2010 at 03:39 AM
    I have to wonder why city and county buildings are NOT MAINTAINED.It seems they let these buildings start falling in around them,and then there is an outcry to the public to remodel or replace the building.
  • by DUH! Location: House on Nov 16, 2010 at 08:24 PM
    Howz about replacing the broken windows first? That's cheap enough for a start, huh?
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