At a special July 28 meeting, County Commissioners examined preliminary plans for a proposed Law Enforcement Center, as well as a new County Annex Facility.
The Law Enforcement Complex would include an upgraded jail that would meet Jail Commission standards. The present county jail is purportedly inadequate in terms of capacity and meeting security standards. The building would provide offices for the county Sheriff’s operations as well as offices for the Department of Public Safety and other law enforcement agencies. At present, the county is paying for some inmates to be kept in neighboring county lockups.
The plans call for a new 202-seat Courtroom along with its accompanying offices, public spaces, restrooms and etc . “The present courtroom was adequate many years ago, but not anymore,” said County Judge Bill Guthrie. “Besides that, the State Historical Commission will not allow any changes to the present courtroom space.” Judge Guthrie believes that the present courtroom, on the second floor of the County Courthouse, can be used judiciously and kept busy at least three days per week even if the County Court moves to a new location.
After extensive discussion it was proposed that the courtroom be included with the proposed new Annex building and tied in with a conference room planned for that facility. Such a move would result in considerable savings. It was also proposed that the size of the various offices in the two facilities be standardized and perhaps reduced in size as a cost saving measure. As presently designed, the Law Enforcement Center would occupy 30,565 square feet of floor space. Combining the courtroom and the conference room in the two buildings and reducing the size of the various offices will result in considerable cost savings without compromising effectiveness. It was agreed that parking could become a problem if the courtroom is left in the Law Enforcement Complex.
Commissioners voted unanimously to send the renderings back to the architects to accommodate the wishes of the Commissioners and to obtain more information about the size and costs of the various offices, rooms and other spaces.