Howorth & Associates Architects were chosen to lead the three million dollar Lafayette County Courthouse Restoration and Renovation project. The Lafayette County Courthouse, centrally located inside the historic Oxford Square, is the focal point for the city of Oxford, Mississippi. The original Courthouse, burned during the Civil War, was replaced in 1870 by the current courthouse structure. In 1949, the two story building was expanded with three-story wings flanking the east and west sides. The building was remodeled in 1979 without regard for the historic fabric of the structure.
The project, complicated in its requirements, invloved balancing the program obligations of an historic structure that functions in the 21st Century. The needs of the COunty administration, a functioning courthouse and use by the general public were incorporated into the broad program. The restoration included the exterior facade, windows and clock tower as well as select interior elements. The renovations affected the entire building and site. New work included the structural systems in the three-story portions and plumbing, HVAC and electrical systems throughout. Re-work of the interior included new vertical circulation with the addition of fire-protected stairways and a new elevator. Code Compliance and handicap accessibility to the site and interior was incorporated into the design. New landscape features, including screening of the site level mechanical systems were necessary to provide a satisfying pedestrian view.
The project funding consisted of local, state and federal monies including a "Save America's Treasures" Grant from the National Park Service. The Renovates structure will continue to serve county administrative functions and as the county courthouse with both large and small courtrooms, judge's chambers and a holding cell.