YORK COUNTY – The York County Council voted unanimously Monday night to renovate the county’s courthouse rather than build a new one.
The courthouse has been unoccupied for more than a year, and the county had considered renovating the building, replacing it, or building another courthouse elsewhere.
The council has expressed at past meetings that the existing building may not be big enough, but renovating the building was assessed as the most affordable option.
Cumming Construction Management, which has advised the council on the project, presented proposals for all three options at the council meeting Nov. 3, and estimated the renovation costs at $9.1 million, compared with $9.6 million to rebuild the courthouse. The county has about $4 million set aside for the renovation.
County residents who attended the meeting were pleased with the council’s decision, as they wanted the council to preserve the century-old building and keep the courthouse in York’s historic downtown area.
Mike Bedenbaugh, executive director of the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation, once again urged the council to seek help from his organization, which advocates for the preservation of historic buildings in South Carolina, in its search for a contractor.
He reminded the council that Ed Lipsky, owner of Rehab Builders Inc. in Winston-Salem, said after surveying the courthouse that his company could renovate the building for a lot less than Cumming’s $276 per square foot proposal.
“It would be a really good idea to get the facts as to why (Lipsky) thinks he can do that,” Bedenbaugh told the council at the meeting.
The council did not say whether it would seek aid from the historic preservation organization or not, but council members did continue the discussion of hiring a vertically integrated contractor to do the job, which was brought up at the council meeting earlier this month. Vertically integrated refers to contractors that handle every part of the development process, including the design and the construction.