Loudon Co. Mayor: "We're going to rebuild her"

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LOUDON COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Loudon County Mayor Buddy Bradshaw said that preliminary findings from the structural engineer says they will be able to use the framework of the historic Loudon County courthouse.

“That old building is solid, and we’re gonna keep her there and rebuild her,” Bradshaw said.

They can keep the outside look of the historic courthouse, rebuilding with that framework. He says most of the walls are 3 feet thick, made of solid brick, there was no wood involved in the infrastructure of decades old courthouse.

Bradshaw says they plan to redo the old courtroom on the second floor as a multipurpose room. People will be able to use it as a venue to host group meetings, weddings, and other events. He also hopes to host county commission meetings there once renovations are complete. The county is also considering moving some offices there to occupy the first floor.

Bradshaw said that there was asbestos in the building, they’ve had that taken care of.

They are in budget committee meetings Friday, and are looking at a second annex that will serve as the new courthouse. It will be built on the banks of the Tennessee River, adjacent to Loudon Police and Fire.

The planned site is where the Don P. Smith Chair company use to be. Bradshaw says the land is currently owned by the City of Loudon, and they are planning to give the land to the county for the new courthouse annex.

The annex will be a new modern energy efficient courthouse “bringing it into this century.” Bradshaw said “We envision something as you cross the Tennessee river you’ll be able to see that courthouse and that’s really going to catch your eye as you come into Loudon.”

Loudon County plans to start restoration as soon as they get the final report from structural engineer and insurance money. They hope to break ground on new courthouse annex by the end of the year. “We’re looking to really move,” Bradshaw said.

He said don’t have any idea of the cost for either project at this time. “Were going to turn this negative into hopefully two positives,” Bradshaw said.

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The mayor of Loudon County says it could take millions of dollars and three years to renovate the Loudon County Courthouse after it was destroyed in a fire on the night of April 23.

Mayor Buddy Bradshaw says the courthouse, built in 1872, is a total loss, and it could take up to three years and millions of dollars to get the building up and running again.

"This is heartbreaking," Bradshaw said. "This was just a staple of Loudon County."

However, Bradshaw said at a press conference on Wednesday, "We're going to rebuild."

Early estimates suggest that the building is a total loss, and investigators have not been able to get into the building due to safety issues.

"Part of the struggle moving forward," the mayor said, is that so much of the building and its contents were original.

New Loudon courthouse annex site