Sally removes courthouse roof, delays proceedings

Santa Rosa court proceedings took another hit this week as Hurricane Sally peeled the roof off the courthouse Sept. 16.

After COVID-19 stopped many court procedures for months, the storm damage has completely shut down operations through at least Sept. 29. Clerk of Courts Don Spencer said the roof of the east wing collapsed, damaging courtrooms and judge’s chambers.

“Apparently, we started building the new courthouse a year and half too late,” Spencer said.

Crews began repairs immediately after the storm. Domestic violence injunctions will restart Wednesday inside the county auditorium to keep essential functions rolling.

Spencer said adding to the challenges has been an ongoing outage of AT&T phone service that predates the storm. Calls to the courthouse receive a busy signal even when the facility is operational. Spencer’s staff continues to work from the clerk’s office, but he said the phone issue at the courthouse has made their jobs harder.

He questioned when AT&T would return calls or make repairs.

“They have not made it a priority,” Spencer said.   

Hurricane Sally damaged the roof of the Santa Rosa County Courthouse, delaying proceedings. Photo by Jamie Gentry

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