County to explore moving courthouse
by JAMES PHILLIPS
Apr 16, 2013 | 3189 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Walker County Commission has hinted for a few weeks that building a new courthouse for the county could be a possibility. The group officially acted on that idea Monday by voting unanimously to give Chairman Billy Luster the authority to explore constructing a new facility at the old Walker County Airport property off Airport Road in Jasper.

The Walker County Courthouse has been located in downtown Jasper since the 1800s. The current main building was constructed in 1933 after two other courthouses had burned in earlier years. Luster said the current courthouse is a great piece of history but not extremely functional for county government in 2013.

“The old girl has served us well for a long time, but we are bursting at the seams,” Luster said. “There hasn’t been any extra space in this building for a long time. We are landlocked here and just don’t have any other place left to expand.”

Luster said a new courthouse could be built to encompass all county departments, including the probate judge’s office and the district attorney’s office.

“We could build all new courtrooms — they are so small right now,” he said. “I think a new facility could solve a lot of our problems. There’s plenty of room on that old airport property for us to build what we need.”

A new courthouse could also be built to be much more secure than the current building. “Securing this courthouse is a logistical nightmare,” Luster said. “It was built for a different era. A new building could be designed for this day and age.”

Funding for a new courthouse could come from a variety of areas, Luster said.

“That’s the main thing that I’m exploring right now,” he said. “We believe there could be some federal money out there for something like this. We could possibly obtain some grants or even do a bond issue. I’m going to look into what might be out there.”

In other action, the commission:

•Appointed Carol A. Spradlin to the Copeland Ferry/Pumpkin Center Water Authority Board.

•Approved a $10,000 budget amendment for a donation to the Walker County Children’s Advocacy Center.