Water leaks at Hale County courthouse causing health concerns

When it rains, it pours. Right now, that includes inside the Hale County Courthouse in Greensboro.

Things are so bad, in fact, that a courtroom floor is covered in chipped plaster, dust and material designed to absorb all the rain flooding the room.

Last week, the Hale County Commission hosted an emergency meeting so leaders could focus on getting started on making some much-needed repairs.

“The problem is it’s an old building, No. 1,” said Hale County Probate Judge Arthur Crawford. “No. 2, the part that we are in now is an addition to the original building. Adding that portion to the old building made a gap. In that gap on top of the roof, there is a carpet-like sleeve that fills in the gap. Over the years the sleeve has deteriorated.”

Crawford said damages have been accumulating for years, but things are so bad now it’s intolerable from a safety and health standpoint.

“It is chaotic,” Crawford said. “It is scary. When you see the water coming down the wall, you are like, ‘Oh my God.’ ”

Hale County District Judge Tim Evans said rainy days in his courtroom are a lot more annoying than a background patter on the roof or windows. It’s downright noisy.

“It does drown out some of the testimony at times,” Evans said. “I just hope that the roof is repaired permanently and we get the interior of the courtroom fixed.”

Repair funds are coming from capital improvement funds and the American Rescue Plan.

Evans said he doesn’t know when repairs will begin, but that it will be a huge relief once things get started.

“It has definitely been an eyesore,” Evans said. “I think having it repaired is going to be a sense of pride for the officials here in the county and the court. Especially for the out-of-town attorneys to come and see that we do take care of what we have, and it will be a sense of pride for us.”

Crawford agreed.

“The courthouse is the hub of your county seat,” he said. “You want the county seat to make the best impression it can. Also, it will eliminate the concern for the safety issue.”

Crawford said these repairs won’t be cheap. The roof alone is estimated at $1.4 million.

The next meeting on making repairs is happening Friday, Sept. 9.

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