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A year after ground was broken, construction of the Grant County Judicial Center is on schedule to be completed in November 2009.
The $14.5 million, 50,000 square-feet facility in downtown Williamstown was approved by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2005 and funding was authorized in 2006.
“It is shaping up quite nicely,” said Grant County Judge-Executive Darrell Link. “We hope to have it under roof here prior to January. It looks like we’re going to beat that. I think people are beginning to see steady progress.”
Link is chairman of the center’s Project Development Board, which also includes Grant County Circuit Judge Stephen L. Bates, Grant County Fiscal Court Magistrate Richard Austin and Grant County Circuit Clerk Shirley Wilson.
Steven Howe, a Kentucky Bar Association representative Ed Crocket, Administrative Office of the Courts representative and Garlan VanHook, AOC project general manager.
JRA Architects, with offices in Lexington and Louisville, designed the center while Codell Construction Company of Winchester is the construction manager for the project.
“The brick’s pretty much finished,” said Singleton Yeary, job site superintendent with Codell Construction. “We’re trying to get it kind of dried in and the windows in by the first of the year so we can keep it warm inside and be able to work all through the winter.”
“Right now, (the cold temperatures) shouldn’t really affect us,” he said. “The actual drywalling, where it has to be a controlled temperature, won’t start until the end of January or February.”
The weather did have an effect on the project last winter forcing the completion date for the project to be pushed from its original June 2009 date.
“We had a lot of lost time last winter because it was so wet that we couldn’t get into the site,” Yeary said.
“We’re out there five days a week,” he said. “Depending on the schedule, if we have to work Saturdays or whatever we have to do.”
Along with the courtroom, the center will house offices for the circuit judge, two district judges, sheriff and circuit court clerk, Link said.
“We hope to be able to add a family court judge there in the very near future,” he said.
Link said plans have not been finalized about how the courthouse courtroom will best be used to meet the public’s needs when the center opens.
“I would like to think that in the end, after we’ve provided a good reassessment of everyone’s needs, that we’ll be able to maintain the courtroom with minor renovations,” he said. “It would be a great place to hold public meetings. And, you never know when the judicial system may need additional space. I don’t anticipate that they would, but it would be a shame to go up there to renovate without any specific purpose.”
While the judicial center will allow for better security and technology, it also will benefit the county in other ways, Link said.
“I think it certainly brings a lot of foot traffic to the downtown area,” he said. “I don’t know if that equates to giving a boost to the economy of Williamstown. It certainly makes the downtown area look like a vibrant community. To have a place of that magnitude and that stature, I think, will create a lot of community pride in our county.”