County commission approves $2.8 million in upgrades to courthouse, administrative offices

ARDMORE – Upgrades to several administrative facilities will move forward after final approval of contracts was given by the Carter County Commission on Monday. Along with a remodel of county office spaces and construction of a new storage building, the Carter County Courthouse stands to receive some of the biggest upgrades in over 40 years.

“I think it’ll look a lot better, keep it up-to-date,” County Commission Chair Joe David McReynolds said on November 21, when he and fellow commissioners approved $850,000 to replace rotting wood and about 119 windows in the 111-year-old building.

The commission has been gathering bids for months for projects at the courthouse and two satellite buildings. Commissioners believe the courthouse renovations are some of the biggest since a complete remodel in 1976.

“It needed this,” McReynolds said. “I think it’ll look a lot better, keep it up to date.”

Monday’s actions by the commission approved three contracts totaling $2.84 million for the courthouse windows, a remodel of Annex II, and the construction of a new county storage building. While the commission approved the bids in November, contracts were approved this week after legal counsel reviewed each.

A road work sign warns drivers in front of the Carter County Courthouse Annex II, with the courthouse tower looming in the background.
Carter County Courthouse Annex II

The commission in November also approved $945,000 for a remodel of Annex II, on the northwest corner of A Street Southwest and First Avenue Southwest. Sheriff Chris Bryant said at the time that some administrative personnel currently at the sheriff’s office will move to the annex after the remodel.

The third and most expensive contract is $1,047,000 for the construction of a new storage building.

“We’re building it to give the court clerk more storage room. Then the sheriff’s also going to have part of it for storage,” McReynolds said.

The upgrades are also expected to give a new home to county probation and parole offices, which are currently in the Annex III building. McReynolds expects the former funeral home to be emptied after the projects are complete.

Commissioners discussed the hefty price tags throughout the bid process in October and November. Commissioner Berry Lee-Brinkman pointed out the bid for courthouse windows broke down to an average of over $7,000 per window and learned that the project would upgrade window receptors and replace any damaged wood.

Other plans were outright scrapped in an effort to cut costs. Three bids to construct a new maintenance building were all rejected last month when all three topped $500,000. McReynolds said at the time that the projects would be reviewed to better utilize county employees.

In other business, the Carter County Commission on Monday:

  • approved two road crossing permits for Sunoco Pipeline;
  • approved a road crossing permit for Continental Resources;
  • approved seven floodplain permits for Envirotech on behalf of Mac Carver;
  • approved advertising for bids on road striping for District 1;
  • approved county officer reports;
  • approved requisitions and purchase orders.