BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - After a year and a half of construction, the $5 million renovation and expansion of the Hancock County Courthouse is in its final stages.
"It's just another piece of the puzzle in our recovery, but this is a major, major part of it," District 3 Supervisor Lisa Cowand said.
The building was restored to its original grandeur.
Most of the 1911 architecture was brought back, including the domed ceiling in the main courtroom.
"In the earlier renovations, prior to Katrina, we actually wanted to open the dome, the original dome. But the monies just were not available at that time," Cowand said. "But this go around, it has been opened and it has been redone. And it is just the most spectacular piece of this courthouse."
A 9,000 square foot addition to the back of the courthouse more than doubles the size of the building.
There are now 30 rooms for courthouse activity.
"We have the District Attorney's office, the judge's chamber, the public defenders' office, witness interview rooms, and then a holding cell for prisoners who are going to be going into the courtroom," Project Manager Jim Brumfield said.
County leaders say the building is more functional. The people who will use the facility had input into the re-design of the building.
"Every detail is in place," Cowand said. "I know the judges wanted to be able to see the jury as they sat on the bench, so we've addressed all of their concerns. Media, the whole nine yards, audio visual everything has been addressed."
"It's the kind of building you might want to see, in that old courtroom, somebody like John Grisham come down and make a movie in this thing. It's just that grand in there," Brumfield said. "And we've done everything we can to spend the dollars wisely and give the county a great product."
County leaders say they plan to move into the building sometime next month.