PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — It’s been a year since the Pender County Courthouse closed its doors.
Assistant County Manager Chad McEwen says the courthouse remains closed a year after Hurricane Florence because of the many parties involved in fixing the damages.
“We have numerous agencies and departments that are involved in the decision about timing of the repairs, the nature of the repairs and the scope of the repairs,” McEwen said.
He says the damages are widespread throughout the building including, but not limited to the basement, and the upstairs courtroom.
“We are dealing with a structure that is nearly 100 years old,” McEwen said. “It’s a national historic place, according to the historic registry. So, we have insurance companies and insurance adjusters, and construction adjusters involved.”
When WWAY toured the site, visible stains from where water seeped through the walls, cracks, discolored floors, and puddles still remain in the basement.
Elizabeth Craver, elected clerk of superior court, says the threat of asbestos and mold remains and directing traffic to the proper location has been a challenge for her staff. The county temporarily housed the staff in a site neighboring the courthouse with court still being held in the Frances Dawson Basden Judicial Annex.
“We have people come to our office daily and say that this is not right, Craver said. “This is not fair to them. They’ll either miss their court date or they’ll go to one building location and it not be there, and they have to drive across town.”
But, McEwen says the building’s historical designation makes repairs more complicated which is prolonging the process. He says, in order to receive funding from FEMA, the county must make sure all historical guidelines are followed.
“We’ve received the bids for the exterior repairs and that work should be awarded soon,” McEwen said. “That’s gonna be an excess of a million dollars for the exterior only. The interior is probably going to be substantially more than that.”
McEwen says exterior repairs are expected to start within the next 30 to 60 days.
The county will continue to work on bids for the interior.