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Courthouse expansion outlined

June 13, 2012

    Once again Dave Sholl of Schenkel & Schultz Architecture was in front of Adams County Council members on Tuesday — along with all three Adams County Commissioners and countless others eager to hear what this newest study would bring — to present a proposed project to house several county offices and both courts under one roof.
    In this latest presentation, Sholl showed how building an expansion to the current courthouse would provide an additional 30,000 square feet and require the movement of the Peace Monument from the southwest corner of the courthouse lawn to the southeast corner.
    The proposed expansion would be placed perpendicular to the current courthouse, on the west side of the building, effectively eliminating the lawn on that side and giving the courthouse a "T" shape.
    Under the new proposal, the ground floor would house Community Corrections and storage. There would also be a vehicle carport which would allow deputies transporting prisoners to and from court a secure entryway that would bypass public areas.
    The west side of the courthouse would be the only public entrance point, with each individual passing through a security checkpoint upon entering.
    The first floor would house the prosecutors' office, clerk's office, and the probation department, while the second floor would hold circuit and superior courts.
    Along with the expansion, Sholl said there would need to be renovations done to the current building as well to provide the most efficient and secure use of space. For example, on the second floor there would be common space containing offices for court reporters, staff restrooms, evidence storage, security officers and bailiffs, that could be shared by both courts.
    Sholl also proposed adding interview rooms for attorneys to meet with clients prior to court, a usable attic area that could be utilized in the future should any of the offices need more space, and that public restrooms and lobbies be added to each floor.
    In the end, Sholl outlined an estimated timeline, with the project possibly getting underway in 2013, a groundbreaking in 2015, and completion in 2016 with an approximate construction cost between $8.75 and $10.75 million, should county officials choose to go with the latest proposal.
    Council members and commissioners alike seem to be excited by this new proposal and Sholl said he will put together another package comparing all three studies that have been done to date for officials to consider.
    "This way, you can see everything we've looked at so far and decide how you want to proceed," said Sholl.
    Officials agreed and commented they feel they have explored all available options and feel they are in a much better place to make a decision.

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