Barbour County Commissioner Frank Straughn made an informal presentation on June 11 at the end of the regular session meeting for the commissioners, telling fellow commissioners about a building that he believes would be perfect for the courthouse services offered in Eufaula.
“I have been working with a realtor looking at property and what it costs, buildings and how much they are,” Straughn commented. “I looked at one building; I’ve been in it three times. There is 19,610 total square feet; that comes out to $35.70 per square foot. That’s cheap.”
Straughn rolled out a set of blueprints for a vacant office complex located in Eufaula a on Barbour Street to show the others commissioners, stating that he has worked on the numbers and everything that is offered a t the existing courthouse will fit with room left over into the proposed location.
“I went around a couple months ago and went to each office and got the number of employees,” Straughn said. “Those numbers fit the offices, all the offices that we have in this courthouse will go in this complex. That’s the VA and everybody. The building is available.”
The office complex that Straughn spoke of to fellow commissioners actually has two buildings with multiple sections. The main building has four sections with one part being unfinished. The second building also has an unfinished section. Straughn stated that those sections could be finished to suit their needs, be it a courtroom or whatever.
One idea he had for one section was, “The unfinished area is perfect for setting up a county commissioner meeting room, and a second court room,” Straughn said. “You could put seven cubicles in and each commissioner would have an individual cubicle so that if they want to sit and talk to somebody they could.
“The building is available. It’s all one level and has no elevators.”
Another positive aspect pointed out was a separate parking lot with more than enough parking spaces including designated handicap spaces that enabled easy access to the buildings.
During a meeting last October, commissioners held community meetings to discuss the future of the Barbour County Courthouses. After the possibility of building a new state of the art building in Clayton was decided against, Straughn turned to Eufaula for the new complex. “We have outgrown the Eufaula Courthouse,” Straughn stated during the 2018 meeting. “It smells and leaks. It’s in a shape that I don’t think that the county commission should put any more money into it an old courthouse.”
Straughn and several commissioners went to look at the vacant buildings following the June 11 meeting to inspect the facility for themselves.