HENRY COUNTY, GA – April 6, 2021 – Commissioners approved a resolution authorizing staff to proceed with requests for proposals (RFPs) for all judicial functions to be relocated to 143 Henry Parkway from the McDonough Square.

County Manager Cheri Hobson-Matthews made the presentation detailing current space conditions within the Henry County Court System and pointed to the fact that Henry County will have a fourth judge joining the county in January, increasing the court’s caseload and requiring more staff and space. She said there have been several conversations about the best way to address the growing needs of the courts.

Hobson-Matthews detailed the court space and the consideration of parking and said that the better use of all of the county’s judicial functions would be to relocate on Henry Parkway at the current Red Hawk Park. The location allows for ease of access, expansion capabilities and one complex for all court functions, including the District Attorney and the Solicitor General’s offices.

“I want to make sure I put away any false information in terms of the courthouse being physically moved from the Square and relocated or the courthouse sitting as a dormant building in the event that the court functions are relocated. My intentions and staff’s intentions are to continue to ensure that the McDonough Square continues to be vibrant and that the residents frequent the Square as a result of doing business with the county.”

She said the Red Hawk site consists of 19.5 acres of pre-graded property, and offers ease of access to Hwy 20/81, space for future expansion, reduces the need for inmate transport and staging, and features an onsite retention pond. She added that the new complex would include a secured parking deck and separate parking for judges and staff.

Solicitor General Pam Bettis also addressed the Board and listed concerns of the current situation explaining that more office space is needed.

“One of the biggest concerns we have at the courts is the growth. We are growing exponentially. The court has already gone through expansions,” said Bettis.

Facilities Maintenance Director Hutch Purvis presented preliminary plans for the new complex and how the current courthouse and judicial center would be utilized by other county departments, as well as offer much-needed storage. The current Administration Building across the street from the Redhawk park will also be used for court purposes as needed.
 
She said funding will come from a variety of sources and said that in addition to the Board of Commissioners authorizing capital funds, fund balance and some federal funding could also be utilized. 

Purvis gave a loose timeline and said that design and engineering could take up to a year to complete and that construction would likely take a minimum of two years.