HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hattiesburg's Municipal Court has a new home in an old building.
The Old Federal Building on West Pine Street is the new home to the court now that it has moved out of Hattiesburg current public safety complex on Edwards Street.
"It's actually a temporary building, but it's temporary for four years while we work on while we work on our new public safety complex," Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree said.
The court employees will move into the designated Mississippi Landmark after almost $800,000 in renovations.
DuPree said spending money on rehabilitating the 100-year-old building was the wisest use of taxpayer money.
"We started out looking for rental places," he said. "Well, you go rent. and at the end of the day, four years later, you know what you have? Nothing. You spent all those taxpayers dollars and you have nothing to show for it. We now have a facility that when we move out, the taxpayers have another building that is ready for use."
Russell Archer, Hattiesburg's historic preservation planner, said he was happy to see what would have been a stately building in the city's first years restored to its former glory.
"I think it's a very good thing the city had the opportunity to renovate it and make it useful again," Archer said. "As you can see, it's a beautiful space, and it's something that Hattiesburg should be proud of."
DuPree said along with preserving history and being conscientious with taxpayer dollars, he thinks the building will improve court flow, employee morale and downtown business.
"I think that the functionality, it was built to be a courthouse," DuPree said. "Where they're located now, it was built to be hospital. Just that in itself tends, I think, to increase morale for the people who work here. I think health-wise, it's a healthier environment. It's in downtown Hattiesburg, so it brings in more dollars for downtown Hattiesburg for the restaurants and the other things that are happening in downtown Hattiesburg. I think it'll be good for us."
The court will officially open with a ribbon cutting on Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 9 a.m.