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The 1909 Historic Randolph County Courthouse, in the background of an Asheboro Ghostwalk in October, is full of history, and it could be full of more history if renovated and converted into a museum.  Eric Abernathy / Randolph Hub

Old Courthouse to museum?

ASHEBORO — Renovation of the Randolph County Historic 1909 Courthouse and converting it for a history museum could cost the county nearly $4 million.


On Dec. 5, Chevon Moore of Hobbs Architects provided the Board of County Commissioners with details of work that needs to be done as well as alternate improvements. While projected construction cost is $2,563,294, the addition of alternates could run the total project to $3,920,579, according to Moore.


The project includes removal of the existing elevator at the rear of the building and adding a new elevator on the east side, in compliance with American Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. 


There will be upgrades to electrical and mechanical systems, provisions for drainage and waterproofing in the basement, and improvements to the first floor for a future museum and exhibit space.


Moore told the commissioners that the goals are to improve accessibility and safety. Other options, such as aesthetic improvements, can be considered alternate uses which can be eliminated or delayed. 


Vice Chair David Allen, when making a motion to allow advertisement of bids, said, “This is more than we anticipated.” The motion passed by a 4-1 vote, with Commissioner Kenny Kidd opposed.


It was expected that the bids would be advertised on Dec. 6 with potential prime contractors needing to fill out a lengthy pre-qualification form for the specialized project. Bids received will be opened on March 2, 2023, Moore said, and presented to the commissioners at their March 6, 2023, meeting. Construction would then begin in May 2023 with completion expected at the end of April 2024. During construction, the historic courthouse would be unavailable for use, she said.


In other business, the commissioners:

• Learned that Randolph County Public Health has entered a partnership with Kintegra Family Dentistry to resume dental services. 


Health Director Tara Aker said her agency has not been able to provide dental services since March of this year due to the “hard time recruiting dentists.” She said the options were to either close the dental clinic or enter a partnership.


Dr. William Donigan of Kintegra said his firm, established in 1996, is the largest federally-regulated dental clinic in North Carolina. Kintegra currently works with 10 counties, including Davidson and Davie. Randolph County will be the 11th.


Aker said her department had received a $375,000 grant for a school-based oral health program and preventive services. Kintegra will assume the funds to continue the school program, using mobile units to visit schools. The company will also provide dental services at Public Health, which is being renovated by the county.


“Our purpose is to serve the people of Randolph County and develop the school-based program,” Donigan told the commissioners, adding, “We will report annually to you.”


Aker said the partnership is expected to start Feb. 1, 2023. “We want to draw our patients back,” she said, adding that Kintegra “will assume Mercy Dental in March.”


•Agreed to apply for a Building Reuse Grant of $100,000 for Mid-State Trailers, 6542 NC 47, Denton, inside Randolph County.


Mid-State Trailers was recently bought by ITZ NC, Inc. The Denton location is the first in North Carolina for the Kenosha, WI, company, which manufactures industrial ramp products, cargo van ramps, pet ramps, yard ramps, accessibility products, and home and safety products. The HandiRamp line will be added to the Denton location.


To qualify for the grant, issued by the NC Department of Commerce, Mid-State Trailers will invest $527,829 for building upgrades and addition, creating 19 new jobs paying an average annual wage of $46,967. The grant requires that the applicant be a local government. There will be no match required of Randolph County as the applicant.


•Approved the abolishment and re-creation of four more fire departments with the intent of lifting the 15-cent cap on the fire tax. The county is in the process of recreating all fire districts in the county, four at a time. The four this month were Bennett, Seagrove, Southwest and Ulah. 


•Received an update on opioid settlement funds by Jennifer Layton, assistant health director, and Leia Gearhart of the NC Association of County Commissioners.


Layton said the process of preparing for nearly $10 million over 18 years requires the use of evidence-based programs and resources to address substance use disorders, specifically opioid-use disorder; build infrastructure to measure the impact of programs; and strengthen community partnerships to improve access to care related to substance use disorders.


The commissioners approved the appointment of a committee to oversee the funding applications.


•Adopted the 2023 schedule of values, standards and rules for reappraisal of property. Debra Hill, tax administrator, said a notice will be published four times in December stating that the orders were adopted and are available for public inspection in the office of the county’s assessor. Appeals may be made to the NC Property Tax Commission within 30 days from Dec. 7.


•Learned of a project by the Randolph County Veterans Services to help homeless and at-risk veterans. 


Elizabeth Wood, Veterans Services director, said a collaboration with Register of Deeds Krista Lowe will allow the use of the old VS office within the Annie Shaw Building for storage of donated supplies such as nonperishable food, cleaning and hygiene products and other necessities. Wood said it’s also hoped that the space will be used as a resource center for veterans.


“We have had a number of local organizations and people extend offers to help with this mission,” Wood said. “We are hoping to have this space opened up sometime in January and would like to thank all of those who have supported this.”