New Madison County Courthouse? Commission Chairman says ‘Yes’

The Madison County Courthouse, built in 1964, is due for an upgrade. (Madison County Commission)

Could Madison County see a new courthouse building in the near future? If Madison County Commission chairman Dale Strong’s comments this week are any indication, then the answer is “YES!”

Strong said at the 2022 State of the County luncheon Tuesday that the county is overdue for a new courthouse building. Here’s what we know:

‘The time has come’

The existing courthouse is outdated and inefficient, according to the Madison County Commission. (Jacob Blankenship / Hville Blast)

The current courthouse building has been a drain on county resources, according to Strong’s statements this week. He mentioned that the utility bills in the current courthouse are “through the roof” and that simply renovating the existing building would be more expensive in the long run than building a new courthouse downtown.

“For years, the Madison County Courthouse would not win a lot of beauty contests. You might not know how outdated the building has become. Maintenance and energy costs continue to rise every year.”

Dale Strong, Madison County Commission chairman

Strong said the commission has met with architects and determined that renovating the existing courthouse would cost upwards of $60 million. Among the issues with the current building cited by Strong are lack of hot water in the building, insufficent courtroom space and energy inefficiency.

Replacing a mid-century fixture downtown

The Commission used Chapman Sisson Architects to look at a possible renovation, the same firm that designed the Service Center. (Madison County Commission)

The existing Madison County Courthouse is the fourth version of the structure, built in 1964. This building replaced the third courthouse, built in 1914. The second courthouse building, built in 1836 (pictured below), replaced the original courthouse, which was built in 1818.

The second Madison County Courthouse was built in 1836. (Huntsville/Madison County Visitor and Convention Bureau)

Strong said that earlier this year the Commission used Chapman Sisson Architects to look at a possible renovation, the same firm that designed the Service Center, which opened in 2021. Based on the firm’s study, Strong said the Commission determined a new courthouse would be more cost-effective.

A timeline on a new courthouse has not been announced, nor has the plan reached further than the concept stage.

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Michael Seale
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