Community leaders in Butte County look to make improvements to a historical building

Published: Jun. 9, 2023 at 9:08 AM CDT
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BELLE FOURCHE, S.D. (KOTA) - Historical buildings can serve as visual reminders of a town’s past...stirring up memories of what it took to build the community.

But maintaining these buildings over the years can be difficult and quite costly. Now one structure in Butte County is falling under the struggle.

The Butte County Courthouse is more than 100 years old, and the historical building is starting to show its age.

After securing funds to improve security in the courthouse, several other issues were noticed before construction could begin.

“We started looking into getting the HVAC system redone and updated and the cost literally came in between a million-two and a million-five ($1.2 million and $1.5 million) just to get that updated for this size of a building. It really hasn’t been updated for over 40 years,” said Butte County Sheriff Fred Lamphere.

Along with the structural issues, Lamphere added that the historic courthouse just isn’t big enough for all the staff who share the space.

In addition to the courtrooms, the three-story building currently houses the sheriff’s office, 911 center, the state’s attorney office, and several other administrative offices.

The sheriff believes the best solution is to build a new courthouse.

“We need more room because our county is growing, our offices are growing, and this building has really served its purpose,” added Lamphere.

Members of the Butte County Commission agree that something needs to be done.

“So, we’re in the very beginning stages of basically just exploring some options, whether it could be some major repairs in the existing building or looking at the option for a new facility of some kind. I know that you know, we’re all aware that it’s not a matter of if we need to do something but it’s a matter of when,” said James Ager, vice chair for the Butte County Commission.