Hancock leaders say new courthouse will be ‘better than ever’

SPARTA, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT ) – It’s been nearly five months since a fire destroyed Hancock County’s courthouse. After weeks of planning and strategies, county leaders say they’re ready to rebuild. 

If you happen to take a stroll in downtown Sparta, you’ll notice signs of progress on the building Hancock County residents refer to as ‘royalty.’

The latest efforts to rebuild the courthouse makes onlookers like Rick Joslyn appreciative. 

“On the day of the fire and actually for weeks later, people would come to the square and mourn the loss of this building,” Joslyn said. 

County commissioners spread old ashes of the burned down courthouse on Monday, signifying the start of construction to restore the building that was built in the late 1800’s. 

“This means the world to me and the commissioners. It was our dream to be able to save the walls and rebuild ‘Her Majesty,” Sistie Hudson, Hancock County’s Commission Chair, said. 

She adds when it comes to the courthouse, she was ready to work. 

“We were fortunate to have some architects walk into our life the first week,” Hudson said. 

The architects on the project are familiar with ‘Her Majesty.’ They spent a chunk of their early years restoring a courthouse in Walton County, an identical twin to Hancock’s, and they wanted to help. 

“20 years later it’s sort of coming full circle, so it just seems right,” Joe Watkins, one of the architects on the project, said. 

Workers plan to maintain the exterior of the building, a $6.6 million project. The inside however, will be brand new. 

“As far as the building’s systems, plumbing, electrical and that kind of thing, it will be all up to date with the current code,” Watkins said.

Hudson says the community has rallied around the courthouse and the people who work there, and she’s looking forward to the finished product. 

“We’re so proud that Oconee Fall Line Technical College offered us space. It’s worked out very well, but we are anxious to be home,” Hudson said. 

Construction on what will be the new Hancock County courthouse begins on Monday. Crews say the project should take about 15 months to complete. Hudsone hopes the building will be finished by Spring 2016. 

Categories: Hancock County, Local News

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