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Orangeburg County starts demolition for new courthouse

Change is coming to downtown Orangeburg. The list of revitalization projects includes a new county courthouse.

ORANGEBURG, S.C. — Orangeburg County started the demolition of the site for their new courthouse on Russell Street this past Monday.

1480 Russel Street used to be home to a Winn-Dixie grocery store that closed over twenty years ago. Now, it will be the address for the new county courthouse.

The current county courthouse was built in 1928. County Administrator Harold Young says this new site will provide more space.

"The current courthouse sits on probably an acre and a half. The lots that we have pulled together gets us up to almost five acres," Young said. "What that does, that will give us tremendous amount of ability to have additional parking and space and make sure that courthouse will last us a long time in the future."

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The new courthouse is expected to cost between $30 and $50 million, which the county funded through an installment purchase bond.

The courthouse is expected to have new technology advances, camera systems and additional family court rooms.

Kareem Walker works off of Main Street and says he hopes this new building will attract more businesses.

"Hopefully, with this new courthouse coming along, they'll be able to start working with the rest of Main Street," Walker said. "There's a lot of empty buildings that's not being used. Hopefully, with this new courthouse, it will bring in more businesses and make it a lot more livelier."

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Michelle Fant lives across the street from the future courthouse.

"Well, I think it's good cause it will help slow down some of the crime that's going around," Fant said. "So I think that about nips it in the bud right there."

Orangeburg County contracted architectural and engineering firm SSEO, which specializes with courthouses in the Palmetto State.

"We want to make sure that the next courthouse will sustain us through the future," Young said. "But also be iconic and be something that the citizens of Orangeburg deserve."

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Once construction starts, the county estimates the project will be completed in 18 months.

When the new courthouse is completed, the county plans to use the current courthouse as a records retention building.

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