AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) — Leaders in Aiken County are working to figure out how to update the current courthouse due to the current outdated facility. “It’s just overcrowded,” Second Judicial Circuit Solicitor Bill Weeks told NewsChannel 6’s Aiken Bureau Chief Shawn Cabbagestalk. “Our offices are cramped and our meeting spaces about nonexistent,” he added.

After 30 years and an expansion, time is catching up to the Aiken County courthouse. “It needs about twice the space that’s got in it. If all the parties gonna stay in it, but you know, you can move parties out of the courthouse. We just need to be close to it,” Weeks added.

Solicitor Bill Weeks made his position known at a work session with the Aiken County council Tuesday, May 3. He expressed his concerns for safety when witnesses who should be separated are lumped together in vacant courtrooms. “That’s not a good situation because witnesses who are sequester aren’t supposed to be together and are not supposed to be talking,” Weeks said. “We end up using our personnel to be monitors for witnesses. And that’s not a good situation,” he added.

County Council could make several options, including upgrading the current facility, and purchasing a location nearby. Also constructing a new building near the government complex could be a possibility. “Which has been contemplated for probably at least 10 years by some,” Aiken County Council Chairman Gary Bunker said.

City leaders could also consider the old federal courthouse building in downtown Aiken abandoned for several years.”The federal government has held tight control over that, even though it is fundamentally unused, but if we could get that, we can loosen to federal government’s grip on that courthouse,” Bunker said. “That could also be a good option for the county,” he added. “It would need to be remodeled, too. Because it’s a courthouse. That’s not an office space. It’s certainly an ideal location,” Weeks added.

Some options could be done for a quick fix, but it’s not expected to solve the long-term problem. Council is expected to put a committee together to discuss which option would be the best. While time is slowly moving forward, Weeks says he’s confident change is coming. “It’s just been a necessary development that needs to plan on and county council is acting very interested in doing that. And I certainly encourage that,” Weeks added.