November 25, 2009 Edition

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Regional archives building
planned for next year

Lawrence County Historical Society member Loyd Richey discusses the importance of county records with Powhatan State Park Superintendent Corinne Fletcher at the Historical Society meeting on Nov. 17.
TD Photo ~ Shantelle Prater
Shantelle Prater
Staff Writer

The records formally housed in the Powhatan Courthouse, were discussed at the Lawrence County Historical Society meeting held at the Lawrence County Meeting Room on Nov. 17.

Powhatan State Park Superintendent Corinne Fletcher attended the meeting to discuss plans for the North East Arkansas Regional Archives Building that will be built in Powhatan.

According to Fletcher, county records that were once stored in the Powhatan Courthouse were moved to the seventh floor of the Arkansas State University library during the courthouse's renovation in 2004.

Plans for the new building have been underway for more than four years. According to Lloyd Clark, Lawrence County Historical Society president, the History Commission could not fill positions or hire employees for the new building because of insufficient funds.

On Nov. 17 officials met with Stone Bridge Inc. of Fort Smith for a pre-construction meeting. Stone Bridge Inc. and the Arkansas History Commission agreed about details for the construction, which will be submitted for approval to the Arkansas Building Authority.

Once the approval has been announced, Stone Bridge Inc. will receive a notice to proceed. Groundbreaking is expected in early December, weather permitting.

The archives building will be built directly behind the Powhatan Post Office, adjacent to the courthouse. The building will be constructed in a Victorian style to match the courthouse.

The building will contain a 4,000 square foot vault with a four-hour fire rating and will be humidity and temperature controlled. Features inside the building will benefit researchers by including small workrooms and rest rooms. Records will be digitized to help preserve original documents.

The estimated cost of the new archives building is $1.36 million.

Clark stated Mississippi and Greene counties have already showed interest in placing their records within the vault. Fletcher and members of the Lawrence County Historical Society are hoping and expecting the building to become a major genealogical site within five years.

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