Justice Center construction moving along

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By Bryan Marshall

The Grant County Judicial Center likely will open more than two years after ground broke on the $14.5 million facility in downtown Williamstown.

The 50,000 square-feet center is on target to be completed by the end of the year, said Grant County Judge-Executive Darrell Link.

Although the project is behind schedule, Link said he was pleased with the work.

“I think it could be as early as December, maybe as late as January,” he said about when the center will open. “We hope to start the new year down there.”

“We didn’t get it weatherized back in January, but they’re making great strides now,” Link said. “They’re painting drywall and seem to be picking up speed.”

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 center was approved by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2005 and funding was authorized in 2006.

Inclement weather did have an effect on the project in the winter of 2008 forcing the completion date for the project to be pushed from its original June 2009 date.

However, recent torrential downpours have not been a problem, said Singleton Yeary, job site superintendent with Codell Construction.

“Most of the work we’ve had recently has been on the inside so the rain hasn’t really effected us,” he said. “There hasn’t been any delays this summer.”

“We’re working on the front entrance way and the mechanical and electrical above the ceiling and painting and drywalling,” Yeary said. “In the next week or so, we’re going to start grading the outside.”

Yeary said the biggest task remaining is the interior finish work and floor covering inside the facility.

Along with the courtroom, the center will house offices for the circuit judge, two district judges, sheriff and circuit court clerk, Link said.

Pretrial offices, currently in the Grant County Detention Center, also will move to the judicial center.

Link said he tries to visit the center weekly to ensure that everything is being built as designed.

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, 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.

Some people have the misperception that the new center is being built to house all county offices, Link said.

“It is a state judicial building being built with state dollars,” he said. “Only state offices will move. The county offices will remain in this historical building, which is dear to us.”

Plans have not been finalized about how the courthouse courtroom will best be used to meet the public’s needs when the center opens.

“We’ll be taking all the space under assessment and try to determine how to best serve the public,” Link said. “We haven’t had any discussion on it.”