BEAUREGARD PARISH, LA (KPLC) - The transformation is well underway as crews rip and tear through walls to construct the soon-to-be temporary home of the Beauregard Parish court system.
"A couple of years ago, the citizens of Beauregard Parish passed a quarter cent sales tax to renovate the courthouse," said parish administrator Bobby Hennigan. "So, the first thing we have to do is find a place to move the court system to while the courthouse is being renovated."
Hennigan says the parish purchased the former First Baptist Church of DeRidder is being renovated to house the judges and clerk of court's offices.
"We're in the process of doing that right now," said Hennigan. "We've hired an architect and got approval from the marshal."
Hennigan says the church renovation is expected to last 2-3 months, after which everything will be moved from the original courthouse to the temporary new one. He also says the clerk of courts has a tremendous amount of files that need to be stored in the church and that they need file rooms to keep them in so they can be easily accessible to the public.
So what's in store for the original courthouse?
"The elevators will be ADA accessible, it will meet all the current fire standards," said Hennigan. "We'll also develop a third courtroom in anticipation of growth in the parish hopefully, in the future, we'll have a third judge."
Hennigan also says this is all proof Beauregard Parish citizens want to see DeRidder accommodate potential growth.
"Step by step, it's going to happen," said Hennigan. "In two and a half years from now, I think the citizens can be proud of the new courthouse that they're paying for."
Repairs and renovations to the courthouse are set to begin in early 2015 and be completed in 2016.