WILKINSON COUNTY COURTHOUSE
Four failed bond attempts to build new facilities for the Starkville Police Department led elected officials to look for a different means of procuring needed space for the City. Resources were acknowledged to be limited and as a result the city looked at property owned by the city as potential for the new site. In late 2011 the city issued a Request for Proposals for interested parties to consider two sites on which to construct a building which would be leased back by the City of Starkville.
The design team and contractor selected to use a small site at the end of Main Street. The site was occupied by a small building constructed in the 1920’s and heavily modified in the late 1950’s. The building did nothing to enhance Main Street and the retaining wall separating the twenty foot grade change between Main Street / Meigs and West Main to the North was the predominate visual feature. Furthermore the two lanes of traffic on Meigs made the street a pedestrian no man’s land. The city officials were notified that to make the site usable additional right of way from Meigs, Main Street and West Main Street were needed to facilitate the envisioned building.
In The Small Town as an Art Object written by James Barker, Michael Fazio, and Richard Hidebrandt, Starkville is taken as a case study along with Ocean Springs and Holly Springs.The authors point out many missed opportunities in Starkville from a planning perspective. The authors write” Main Street is too wide for any social or physical interaction. The place is a car place, not a people place. Its qualities are: infinity, confusion, enframement and tension.”
The design attempts to correct some of these negative qualities by creating a visual terminus, a means for the car to turn back and a pedestrian and civic place at the end of Main Street. Parking in downtown Starkville is limited. The design creates space for forty additional cars through parking below the mezzanine level, and restriping on existing streets adjacent to the new building. Offices for the Mayor, Building Department, Courts, Clerks, Human Resources and IT are housed in the three story building. The City Municipal Court and Board of Alderman share use of the first floor court room.
SIZE: 24,000 square feet
DATE OF COMPLETION: October 2015
PRINCIPAL: W. Briar Jones
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: West Brothers Construction