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3-story courthouse chosen

July 10, 2013

Parking lot north of current superior court building could be site for a new courthouse. (File photo)

    The Adams County Council and the county commissioners met early Tuesday morning to receive a presentation from Dave Sholl of SchenkelSchultz on the courthouse study results, which compared a three-story courthouse concept with a four-story concept.
    Sholl's three-story concept features both courtrooms (circuit and superior) on the top floor, as well as a lobby and the judges' offices. The clerk's office, prosecutor, public defender, and an auxiliary courtroom would be located on the first floor, and the bottom floor would be reserved for electrical and maintenance rooms, as well as plenty of room for future expansion, if necessary.
    The three-story courthouse would occupy 47,000 square feet, and would cost about $8.2-10.5 million in new construction and renovating the current courthouse to accommodate Community Corrections and the probation office.
    The four-story concept features superior court on the top floor, circuit court on the floor below it, the clerk's office, prosecutor, and public defender on the first floor, and future expansion on the ground floor. The four-story courthouse would occupy 34,000 square feet, and would cost about $6.7-8.4 million in new construction and renovating the current courthouse.
    Because the three-story concept has more room to expand later, and because the building would theoretically last at least 150 years or so, the committee voted to go with the three-story design. Additionally, there was talk about being able to share personnel more easily with the courtrooms side by side.
    Sholl also presented a site comparison between the corner of Third Street and Madison Street and a site on Third Street near the current superior court building. He noted that the Third Street site will require the acquisition of property for parking, and there are already utilities there.
    The other site "contributes more to urban density," requires less property acquisition for parking, and eliminates unsightly buildings, but property must be acquired for the actual construction.
    The site decision was tabled.
    Sholl promised to present a cost estimate by the September council meeting, and the committee planned to begin strategizing on how to engage the public in December. Currently, public dialogues are anticipated to begin in January 2014.
    In the meantime, Sholl suggested that he proved each committee member with pamphlets to pass out to answer frequently asked questions, which will be compiled at the August meeting.

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