Macon-Bibb Commission approves construction of courtrooms in Macon Mall
Macon-Bibb Commissioners approved Tuesday construction of two courtrooms at the Macon Mall.
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — Macon-Bibb Commissioners approved Tuesday construction of two courtrooms at the Macon Mall.
About $4 million in 2018 SPLOST revenue will be used for the project.
“When we shut down for those 14 to 18 months, we developed an incredible back log,” Chief Judge Howard Simms said. “People didn’t stop committing crimes, we just stopped being able to try them.”
Judge Simms says the pandemic has limited the number of cases that can be tried, and the current courtrooms are too small for social distancing.
The new rooms will allow for continuous use if Covid-19 cases spike again.
“If we have multiple judges trying cases here, we can send presiding duties and stuff like that over to those courtrooms to handle it there,” Judge Simms said.
Macon-Bibb Mayor Lester Miller says using funds to build the courtrooms is the best option.
Jury rooms and a judge office will also be added.
“The main issue with that courthouse was security,” Mayor Miller said. “That’s been addressed to some extent. Additional courtroom space, that’s been addressed with this move as well as others. Separating juveniles out of the equation, that has been separated already. You can check that box. Parking was the other issue.”
The courtrooms will also be available for planning and zoning and Southwest High School’s Law Academy.
“It gives our kids an opportunity to go and see more cases because now they have the space for us to actually go,” SHS Law Academy Director Ronald Rodgers said. “It also gives us an opportunity to collaborate with other schools.”
No construction date has been set.