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Courthouse security plans not finalized

Prince Edward County supervisors and stakeholders continue to discuss necessary changes to the county’s courthouse security.

“No final decisions have been made concerning courthouse security,” County Administrator Wade Bartlett said.

Bartlett said the county anticipates hiring an architecture and engineering firm during January. Once that decision is made, the firm will work with judges, Sheriff Wesley Reed, other stakeholders and the Board of Supervisors’ Property and Community Development Committee to develop recommendations. The recommendations will be presented to the full board at a later date.

“The board should make their final decision in late summer and renovations should commence in the fall,” Bartlett said.

Discussion of courthouse security is not new to Prince Edward County, with the board voting in March to approve a contract for Major Security Consulting and Design (MSCD). The Property and Community Development Committee discussed the services, priced at $5,500, in August. Bartlett said an architecture and engineering firm is needed because MSCD does not handle renovation design and construction.

Courthouse security was also brought up when the board contemplated courthouse landscaping in preparation for the Oct. 4 Vice Presidential Debate. Supervisors considered landscaping plans for the courthouse lawn from Land Tech in June and discussed the plans up until their August meeting.

“Because of the possible impact that any courthouse security measures could have on traffic flow of citizens entering the courthouse, the board of supervisors tabled the decision to adopt a final plan for the courthouse lawn,” Bartlett said.

In particular, supervisors were concerned because one of the security changes that may be needed is permanently locking the front door to the courthouse. They didn’t want to see sidewalks leading to a door that wouldn’t be open.

Instead of hiring a landscaping firm, county staff spruced up the courthouse in time for the debate.

Staff replaced shrubbery, filled sand between bricks on the front walk, power washed the building, repainted windowsills and doors and trimmed trees, Bartlett said.