News Column

Old Court House, first phase of library renovations near finish

May 22, 2014

By David Exum, The Dispatch, Lexington, N.C.



May 22--Hanner expects a complete unveiling of the building, which houses the Davidson County Historical Museum, to be sometime in August or September. The building received the plastic shrink wrap in October.

The first phase of renovations at the Lexington Branch of the Davidson County Public Library is also nearing completion.

Renovations of the Old Davidson County Court House began in September 2013. Located at the corners of Main and Center streets, exterior repairs to the structure totalled over $800,000.

Commissioners originally approved a bid in August 2013 for $617,500 from Progressive Contracting Co. of Sanford to complete repairs to the Old Court House, but in November asbestos coating was discovered on the structure and cost an additional $250,000 to be repaired.

About $150,000 of the museum's funding is from Preservation North Carolina, a nonprofit that protects and promotes historic buildings.

Hanner said funding for the museum falls under capital projects.

"The money has been appropriated, so it will just finish on out," Hanner said. "The reason why we have capital projects is because if it lasts longer than the budget year, it just rolls over from year to year until the project is finished."

Work on the museum includes repairs to the building's cornice (molded ledges), portico (porch and entrance) and soffit areas. Crews are also repairing or replacing gutters and downspouts, in addition to removing all lead paint.

"This has taken a long time," Hanner said.

Built in 1858, the Old Court House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1971.

Ruth Ann Copley, director of the Davidson County Public Library, said work remains to be done on the portico portion of the museum. Copley, who oversees the museum, also expects to conduct an open house in either August or early September.

Another capital project that's winding down is the first of three phases of changes to the Lexington Branch of the Davidson County Public Library on South Main Street. Hanner expects the first phase to be completed in June.

The vacant Family Dollar Store, located adjacent to the public library on West Seventh Avenue, is being renovated into new space for the library. Hanner estimated the renovations at $140,000. The funding fell under performance-based budgeting, which allows county departments to use money saved from the regular budgetary appropriations.

"They've changed the facade on the building front to match the library," Hanner said.

"It should be finished in the next 30 to 60 days."

Hanner added the library has planned to make the vacated store an annex for storage and to free up space inside the Lexington Library. Genealogical services will be housed in the annex.

Copley also added that library administration will be moving into the annex from the Lexington branch. Technical services, which processes books into the library system, will move from the Lexington Library to the annex. She is also hoping that phases II and III can be funded in this year's proposed budget.

Before Family Dollar moved to a new location, the Davidson County Board of Commissioners didn't want to move on using the building because of the fear of displacing store workers. The county has owned the building since 1981.

David Exum can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 227, or at dave.exum@the-dispatch.com. Follow David on Twitter: @LexDisptachExum

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(c)2014 The Dispatch, Lexington, N.C.

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Source: Dispatch, The (Lexington, NC)


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