Wednesday, 18 December 2019 17:07

Monroe County Courthouse set for over $50M addition

A $50-plus million plan for the construction of a new building adjacent to the Monroe County Courthouse is taking shape as a new board of county commissioners prepares to take office in January.

The ambitious plan, discussed for years as a way to cope with an old, cramped courthouse and explosive growth in civil and criminal cases, would involve the county taking the drive-through PNC bank at Sixth and Sarah streets, either through a purchase or through eminent domain, as the county did with 701 Main St., which it took to alleviate some space constraints in county offices.

The courthouse addition would replace the bank building with a state-of-the-art three-story building that will also function as the new entrance for the entire courthouse complex, which consists of the original courthouse built in the 1800s, the annex built in the late 1970s and the new building.

County commissioner John Christy said Tuesday the county is in ongoing negotiations with PNC to buy the property. He said eminent domain is always an option, one the county would use as a “last resort.”

Adding to the urgency for more space is the arrival of a newly created judgeship in January, bringing the total number of judges in the old courthouse to seven. Even with the new judge, Daniel Higgins, the courthouse will still be shorthanded, according to President Judge Margherita Worthington, who has said eight judges are needed to handle the caseload.

Final details on the plan will be worked out over the next year, with final approval expected late next year, Christy said. “We’ve committed already.”

Christy said space studies have been completed and the architect, CGL of New York City, and the construction manager, William H. Lane of Binghamton, N.Y., have been selected.

CGL bills itself as experts in courtroom design and its website states it is the maintenance manager for nearly 9 million square feet of justice facilities in the country.

The new building would permanently change the landscape of the 600 block of Sarah Street, replacing the small, low slung bank branch and its parking lot with a modern, substantial structure in a neighborhood of mostly 100-plus year old, two-story homes.

Christy said the plans are taking into account the historic nature of the neighborhood.

[Source]

Last modified on Monday, 18 October 2021 09:06
Nate

Disclaimer: The ideas are the personal thoughts and opinions of Nate Covington and do not necessarily reflect the position of Barrett Township or the Board of Auditors.

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