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Calhoun courthouse to receive new roof, new paint

Two Courthouses Here

With the city's next federal courthouse going up across the street — as shown in this May 2020 photo before any steel had been raised — the Calhoun County Courthouse (background) is to be spruced up with repairs and paint, the Calhoun County Commission says.

The Calhoun County Courthouse will soon see repairs and improvements carried out by the architectural firm of Anniston City Councilman Jay Jenkins. 

Members of the Calhoun County Commission approved an agreement with Jay Jenkins Architecture for renovations on the courthouse, including a new roof and new paint for the entire exterior. The refresh may help the historic building cut a proper countenance beside the new federal courthouse being built across the street on Gurnee Avenue, the former site of Anniston City Hall. 

“Some of the roof repair is proactive, most of it is necessary,” Jenkins told commissioners at their meeting Thursday morning. 

Some of the work will include caulking and sealing to prevent leaks, while the exterior paint will simply freshen up the courthouse. 

“It’s starting to show signs of age,” Jenkins said. 

The new roof will be rated to last about 25 years, according to Jenkins. It may be awhile before work begins in earnest; Jenkins said after the meeting that he’d like to have preliminary paperwork drafted and presented for review in two or three weeks. If all goes well, he explained, bidding for the construction work itself might start in about six weeks. 

“It’s all exterior, nothing interior,” Jenkins noted. Courthouse visitors are unlikely to be disturbed by construction, though anyone on the top floor might hear extra noise. Repainting will require scaffolding around the building, but pathways will be marked to make access easy for courthouse visitors. 

During the meeting, the commission also appointed Michael Barton, director of the county Emergency Management Agency, to the role of safety coordinator for county employees. After the meeting, Barton said he will deal with workplace safety, helping train more than 300 employees to prevent anything from trips and falls to highway and industrial accidents. 

Barton currently serves as the county’s point of contact for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and as a key member of local COVID-19 response task forces. He was previously a deputy with the Etowah County Sheriff’s Office, among other emergency response roles. His background would likely be an asset, especially in terms of training, he said. 

“I’m honored that the commission entrusted me with leading the team,” Barton said. 

During the meeting, the commission also: 

— Committed $52,113 as a local match for grant money from the Alabama Department of Transportation. The money will pay for local public transport vans that have wheelchair access. ALDOT will contribute a matching sum to the program, which is operated by the East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission. 

— Authorized the use of county voting machines in the municipal election runoffs set for Oct. 6 in Anniston, Jacksonville and Piedmont. 

— Agreed to act as payee for $433,160 in grant money paid by the state Department of Youth Services to Coosa Valley Youth Services’ Robert E. Lewis Academy, and to act as payee for $214,240 in grant money from the Department of Youth Services for the Family LINKS program at the county Family Court Success Academy. 

— Entered into an agreement with ALDOT to replace a bridge on Ballplay Road over Mill Creek. The total cost will be over $1.2 million; most of the expense will come from 2018-19 federal aid money and the Rebuild Alabama Federal Exchange Fund. 

— Changed the commission chairman schedule to begin the term of District 4 Commissioner J.D. Hess on Sept. 12, which will last until July next year, then revert to District 3 until January 2022. Commissioner Eli Henderson had been the commission chairman, but died due to COVID-19 this summer. Hess has acted as vice chairman until now. 

— Authorized Hess to sign for any action with BB&T bank in his role as commission chairman, beginning Sept. 12.