Supervisors discuss next steps for buildings

During Monday’s meeting of the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors, District 2 Supervisor Malcolm Perry presented a proposal to the other board members that outlined the scope of a “Space Needs Study of County Offices and Facilities” from Buchart Horn Architects. Perry brought the proposal before his fellow board members due to his stance that the supervisors should get a second opinion on the cost and space utilization of proposed new buildings at the existing county offices located on Main Street in Poplarville.

Earlier this year, the board hired Landry and Lewis Architects to meet with county department heads to determine their space and functionality needs, and to prepare an estimate of the projected needs and costs to build adjacent to the existing courthouse that currently houses a number of county departments. The findings and proposed cost from Landry and Lewis called for building two annex buildings, with one building on each side of the exiting courthouse, with an estimated cost of $13 million dollars for the project. The supervisors have been split on what the next step is and have not made any commitment to move forward on construction, but all have publicly stated that they agree that something has to be done to alleviate the current situation for county personnel utilizing the courthouse and nearby buildings.

In presenting the Buchart Horn proposal to the other board members, Supervisor Perry said, “As for talking about our courthouse and annex additions, I know we haven’t done anything in a while. I’ve always felt like we should get another opinion, so I contacted another architect firm and met with them to explain what we are trying to accomplish. I didn’t give them any budget or any other information from the Landry and Lewis proposal. I’d like to have another set of eyes to see what our needs are and they (Buchart Horn) came back with this proposal,” Perry said.

Perry contends that Landry and Lewis did not interview each department head and he told the other board members that he spoken to each of them personally and he does not think they are in agreement with the layout of the offices in the Landry and Lewis proposed floor plans.

Board Vice President and District 3 Supervisor Hudson Holliday and Perry had a very long discussion about how to move forward and Holliday told Perry that he wants the Board to make the right decision on functionality and cost to ensure that "the county builds what will set the county up for the long term, just as was done over one hundred years ago by our forefathers who built the existing courthouse that is still being used today.”

During the discussion, Board Attorney Joe Montgomery told the supervisors that he thinks they should have Buchart Horn come meet with the board before they enter into this agreement so the board will know exactly what they will receive from the work, if they agree to hire Buchart Horn.

District 1 Supervisor Donald Hart said, “I think we need to do this, in fact, I wouldn’t be opposed to having a third opinion if we need to do that. We’ve got to get this right to make sure that when we move forward, we have as much data as possible to do what’s right for the long term.”

At the end of the discussion, the supervisors voted to bring Buchart Horn in for the next board meeting and ask them detailed questions to ensure both parties are in agreement on what the scope will entail if the board does hire them to perform the scope of work.

The cost of the work is estimated at $28,600.00 if the board decides to move forward with the current Buchart Horn proposal.

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