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Courthouse renovations near completion

WOOD REVEALED – The rotunda has been opened up again, the way the courthouse was originally planned. If you stand in front of the Circuit Clerk’s office on the ground floor and look up, you can see the stained glass skylight in the second floor courtroom. (More photos will be added to our photo gallery section)

The upper floors of the Copiah County Courthouse look like a different building than they did just a few months ago. The long-awaited renovation project is nearly complete, restoring the century-old courthouse to a more

historical appearance. The entire second and third floors of the courthouse have been affected by the project, with some major changes.

The public will be invited to a dedication service – tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, October 28, at 10 a.m. – to celebrate the complete of the renovation project. Tours of the courthouse will be offered immediately following.

The Circuit Court staff hope to be moved in and settled in their new offices by that time.

“This is going to serve the citizens of Copiah County better as far as our court facilities,” said Edna Stevens, Circuit Clerk. “It is still historic looking, but it has modern day advantages like internet access.”

The renovations include new lighting, air conditioning, and sound system, in addition to the cosmetic changes.

“This is something the taxpayers will be very very proud of,” said Stevens.

The space on the upper floors has been reconfigured for better use. There will be more witness rooms, a grand jury room separate from the regular jury room, as well as offices for the Circuit Court administrative staff and Judge Lamar Pickard. But the new layout also meant the District Attorney’s office had to relocate to an adjacent building.

The space will be more practical to use  and more secure as well as more pleasant to look at. Contractor Huntington Lumber and Supply Company Inc. of Hazlehurst, with the help of their subcontractors (many of whom are also local), have stripped away the paint to reveal the original gleaming wood of the columns in the courtroom, as well as opening up the rotunda, restoring it to the way the courthouse was originally designed.

The renovations are funded by the Copiah County Board of Supervisors, the federal “Save America’s Treasures” program, and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Carl Nobles of Hazlehurst is project architect.

Read this newspaper in the coming weeks for more on the history of the courthouse and some anecdotes of colorful scenes from its past.

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