Glynn County Superior Court judges and the Glynn County Commission are expected to hash out a potential courthouse expansion at the commission’s Tuesday work session.
“It’s on there because the judges have been telling us they have pretty much run out of space,” said commission Chairman Mike Browning. “We’ve had some talks with them, a couple of them anyhow, to find out exactly what that means and to paint a picture. Do they need more courtrooms, office space, just so we know how we can help them.”
The commission is already working on a list of project to propose for a 2020 SPLOST, Browning said. Right now, they don’t have much to go on as far as courthouse expansion is concerned so establishing what the judges need and when they need it is the first step.
“We’re really in a fact-finding phase, and we want to discuss this because it could be of significant cost,” Browning said.
A study conducted five years ago, which Browning called the Heery study, determined the county may need to spend as much as $40 million to accommodate the space needs of the court system, he said.
What the commission wants to determine is how best to meet the space needs — an expansion of current facilities, a new building or rearranging the current building.
“Even with this Heery study, what we really have to determine is what the judges need,” Browning said. “All the administration to the courthouse is in the courthouse. Could we maybe move all the admin out of the courthouse? First, need to figure out how to accomplish that and then put a price to it”
He said he’s also heard Glynn County may get a new judge, at which point they’d need even more courtroom space.
“I guess the question is, how critical is the space need and can we put it off,” Browning said. “Do we need to do it now, or can we put it off to another SPLOST. There’s no guarantee the commissioners may even want to go there.”
Using SPLOST money to pay for it is likely the only option the commission will go with, Browning said.
“There are only two options to pay for a project that large, a bond and SPLOST. I don’t see us floating a bond anytime soon,” Browning said.
Also on the agenda is further discussion of the county’s fiscal year 2019-2020 budget, a proposed lease with the St. Simons Boating and Fishing Club for the St. Simons Island Marina and discussion of changes to the county’s pension program.
The meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday on the second floor of the Harold Pate Building, 1725 Reynolds St. in Brunswick.