In January 2012, renovations to the 100-year-old Anson County courthouse were just under way, having started in the summer of 2011. By mid-year, most of the exterior renovations were complete and the courthouse looked brand new once again.
Jeff Waisner, director of buildings maintenance and parks and recreation for the county, said that architect Ansel Broome and contractors SRM, Inc., looked over old photographs of the courthouse and have tested different parts of the courthouse to determine how the building originally looked. “They took a sample of materials and took them to a lab to get back to the original,” Waisner explained. “They can get down to the base and tell what color it was originally.”
Once the original colors were determined, a protective sealant in those colors was added to the building’s columns, steps, archways and other architectural details. “The base is stone, brick and terra cotta,” Waisner said.
In January, workers continued repairing the steps and retaining walls. “When it’s finished, hopefully it will match the stone of the columns,” Waisner added.
All 137 of the courthouse’s windows were also replaced. The renovation project came in slightly under budget, County Manager Lawrence Gatewood said at the January 2012 county commissioners meeting. “We budgeted $1 million,” he said, “and it looks like we will come in right at $900,000.”
2012 also brought massive renovations to the Parks & Recreation office building in Little Park. The interior of the building has been completely remodeled, with new tile flooring, new sheetrock and a 25-percent extension onto the back of the building, with more spacious locker rooms and rest rooms for both men and women. All three offices in the building have been remodeled as well, with built-in shelving units and colorful tile floors. The entry to the building is now a conference room — a space that used to be used to park the department’s Gator vehicle and unused equipment like basketball goals.
This is also the first time the building has had central heating and air conditioning. In the past, it was cooled by window units and had no heat.
“It’s all paid for,” Gatewood pointed out. “We have no debt.”
The renovations were the first changes made to the building since it was first constructed in the 1970s.
The final major renovation project the county undertook in 2012 was the Belk building, across the street from the courthouse. After less than six months of renovation work, the Belk Building in uptown Wadesboro had almost been restored to its former glory as of December.
Waisner said he expects the renovations to be completed by the end of January, barring any weather-related delays.
In early December, contractors with SRM, Inc., were finishing up the replacement of the building’s front windows, and Waisner said all of the windows were scheduled to be replaced by the end of the week. The windows and the brick work had been covered for about 50 years by gray panels. The panels were removed during the summer.
In addition to restoring the building’s original façade, metal roof awnings will be added on the second floor. The awning resemble the metal roof awning at the Anson County Government Center, which sits adjacent to the Belk Building on Greene Street.
Although there had been some talk of covering the name “Belk’s Dept. Store” on the building, Waisner said that he and Gatewood have decided to keep the large “BELK’S” sign in the middle of the building. “It is known by everyone as the Belk Building, after all,” Waisner said.
The Belk Building houses the county’s child support services, veterans services and probation office.