County picks companies for new courthouse, administrative building

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • If the North Carolina General Legislature comes through with $31 million in funding for a new Hoke County Courthouse, Metcon will work with Silling Architects to design and build it.

The county expects to spend another estimated $5-6 million to build a new county administration building alongside the courthouse, with that project going to a collaboration of HH Architecture and MSquare Construction.

The Hoke County Commissioners voted unanimously Monday afternoon at a resumed meeting to hire the companies to tackle the projects.

The board approved the decision but said the county must actually receive the $31 million in funding for the project to go forward.

“We certainly pray and are hopeful that these funds right now are going to come out of the state budget,” Commissioner James Leach said.

Unless the state allows the county to use some of the $31 million in funding for the administrative building, that money will have to come from the county. The board was only able to roughly estimate the cost for the admin building. The exact cost could be different.

“We’re not builders, it could be less (than $5-6 million),” Leach said.

Metcon has worked on many major construction projects in Hoke County, including Sandy Grove Middle School and the in-progress James A. Leach Aquatic and Recreation Center. Silling Architects specializes in justice and government projects, and has worked on dozens of courthouses.

HH Architecture’s team includes a security and risk management consultant, and an interior designer to help with planning the finished look. The company worked on the North Carolina State Highway Patrol’s Training Facility and the Randolph County Agricultural Events Center. MSquare Construction is a general contractor that works out of Fayetteville, Raeford and Charlotte.

The commissioners heard presentations in July from five companies interested in working with the county on the projects. Besides Metcon and HH Architecture, Barnhill Construction, Bordeaux Construction and Samet Corporation also gave presentations but were not selected.

Commission Vice Chairman Allen Thomas opened discussion of the proposal and made the motion to approve, which was seconded by Commissioner Lonnie Baldwin.

Thomas said he took note of which presenting companies checked certain boxes, such as having local connections and presenting a good design. Metcon was a winning selection because of their track record and work that “speaks for itself,” Thomas said. He also praised Silling Architects’ work on courthouses in other communities.

“When we’re looking at a courthouse that’s going to be here hopefully for another 100 years like our historic courthouse, you want to make sure it’s done right,” the vice chairman said.

HH Architecture, selected to work on the administrative building, has a great reputation in this state and region, he added.

Commission Chairman Harry Southerland said he liked the design presented by HH Architecture, and appreciates that MSquare is a local company. Baldwin and Leach also spoke favorably of hiring local workers for the two projects.

The plan as things stand is for the county to build the new courthouse and county administration building in downtown Raeford on the empty lot next to the Hoke County Courthouse. The lot is currently used for vehicle parking. As the planning process moves forward, county leaders will consider options for new parking offerings.

The board has been working on plans for a new courthouse for more than two years. Inspection reports from 2019 revealed the historic Hoke County Courthouse showing its age, with a lack of space for court hearings just one of multiple issues.

That same year, Senior Resident Superior Court Judge James Webb requested commissioners plan to build a new courthouse. The COVID-19 pandemic put the project on hold in 2020, but the board resumed the process this year with Hoke’s state lawmakers supporting the infrastructure money in the state budget.

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