Inside York County's historic courthouse, built in 1914, are plaster vaulted ceilings, patterned tiling on the floors, marble wainscoting and other notable architectural features.
Alongside those historical charms, though, is a list of shortcomings the county hopes to address in a long-sought renovation.
Labyrinthine stairwells, multiple levels and a lack of elevators make the building - located on Congress Street at Liberty Street - inaccessible for wheelchairs.
Multiple entrances present security problems.
There's water damage from a 2008 flood caused when someone left a water faucet running, mold from too much moisture, and lead paint and asbestos in the nearly 100-year-old courthouse.
The courthouse renovations are slated to start in July and include:
Increasing the number of courtrooms from one to three: Probate Court on the ground floor, Master-in-Equity Court on the second and Civil Court on the third
Designating a main entrance for all public traffic, which will allow the county to implement security measures.
Installing two elevators
Making the building wheelchair-accessible
Abating mold, lead and asbestos
The renovation will last about 30 months, county engineer Mark Kettlewell said.
In the planning stages for more than three years, the county hopes to begin renovations by next summer - but not before trying to lower costs against a tight budget and dealing with other construction projects.
At $6.6 million, the estimated cost exceeds the $5 million the county budgeted in its Building Facilities Capital Improvements Plan.
The cost estimate "was the first red flag," Kettlewell said. "When it came in over budget, we started taking a look at how we could cut the cost."
The $6.6 million includes the cost of renting and improvements to temporary space for the county's archives and land records, decades' worth filling several shelves and rooms in the courthouse.
The records cannot be housed in the DSS building or in any old buildings, Kettlewell said.
"The problem with downtown buildings is a lot of them were built with crawl space and wooden floors, and they aren't capable of handling the weight that the land records have," he said.
The county already has plans to build a new facility for the records, either near the McCelvey Center - four blocks away on East Jefferson Street - or on property near the courthouse.
Building that facility first could save the cost of renting space. Sometime in the next month, Kettlewell will determine what plan is best.
Before renovating the courthouse, the county must empty it of its current residents, including offices for finance, the auditor, records management, building maintenance supervisor's office, and the clerk of court, civil division.
The county also must improve another building left vacant when the state Department of Social Services moved to Rock Hill and borrow space elsewhere.
The auditor, finance department, and the county tax assessor, currently renting space in the former Belk Building, will move into the former DSS offices on W. Liberty Street where they will be housed permanently.
The civil court office will be moved to the space formerly occupied by the late Melvin Roberts at 300 W. Liberty St. until courthouse renovations are complete.
The building maintenance supervisor's office will be moved permanently to an available office at Moss Justice Center.
Offices for the Probate Court and Master-In-Equity Court will move from rented space on Congress Street back into the renovated courthouse.
On Monday night, the York County Council will consider bids of more than $1 million to renovate the DSS building by May 2011.