Oconee County commissioners took a step toward getting rid of the county’s old jail building.
In a recent night meeting the board voted 3-1 to issue a request for Proposals to get an idea of how much it would cost to tear down the jail.
The vote was not a final decision on doing away with the century-old building, where one of the state’s most notorious mass lynchings began one night in 1908.
But the responses to the RFP will at least give commissioners an idea of what it would cost to demolish the building, tucked into a corner of a building lot mainly occupied by the Oconee County Courthouse, said commission Chairman John Daniell.
“All we’re voting on … is the opportunity to go out and find the price to demolish it,” he said.
Demolishing the jail would allow construction crews to add 8,000 square feet of space to the courthouse, he said.
“Architecturally, there’s not a lot there,” he added.
“It was good in its day,” responded Commissioner Bubber Wilkes, who opposes tearing down the jail.
The three-story building could be used to showcase sheriffs of past times and history, he said.
Commissioner Mark Thomas asked if the jail building could be occupied, but Daniell said it would cost about as much money to rehabilitate it as to remove it.