Architects to view courthouse this week

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Suffolk Visitors Center will be moving into the historic Nansemond County Courthouse in about 18 months.

Architects will be at the courthouse, located at intersection of North Main Street and Constance Road, to begin working on a building assessment this Friday, said Lynette Brugeman, the city’s tourism director.

A schematic design is expected to be finished by late October.

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&uot;The location is ideal,&uot; said Brugeman. &uot;It is a gateway into downtown…and the visibility for us will be better than it is right now.

&uot;Getting tour buses in and out of this facility is a little cramped.&uot;

Suffolk Festivals Inc., which has been housed in a mobile unit at the Suffolk Executive Airport for the past couple of years, will also have offices in the building, Brugeman said.

Although U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., has said that Chesapeake is the forerunner to receive federal funding to build a new Great Dismal Swamp and Wildlife Refuge visitors center, the city is still pushing ahead with efforts to put some sort of interpretative center within the renovated courthouse, Brugeman said.

In fact, at last week’s Suffolk City Council retreat, Brugeman said she already has her first exhibit – a dead copperhead snake – stored in her freezer at home.