Justice center nearly done

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By The Staff

The $14.5 million Grant County Judicial Center in Williamstown is in the finishing stages and is expected to open by April.

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

“It’s come along very well,” said Judge-Executive Darrell Link, who toured the facility Feb. 11. “The courtrooms are almost finished. They’re working on punch lists on the second floor. We’re, I think, in the final stage.”

Link said he anticipates the circuit clerk office moving to the center in late March.

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.

JRA Architects, with offices in Lexington and Louisville, designed the center while Codell Construction Company of Winchester is the construction manager for the project.

Along with the courtroom, the 50,000-square-feet center will house offices for the circuit judge, two district judges, sheriff and circuit court clerk.

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

The rest of the county offices will remain in the courthouse building.

Dan Damron, construction manager, said all that remains in the interior is trim, installing judge’s benches in the courtrooms, carpet installation and final coats of paint.

The exterior is mostly complete other than the handrails and sidewalks, a project that has proven difficult with the recent snowstorm.

“On the outside work, the weather put us to a 100 percent stop,” Damron said. “Inside, we’ve missed a couple days because nobody could get here. But, other than that, we’ve been working everyday.”

A crew of 25 to 35 workers are on-site on an average day, he said.

Link said plans have not been finalized about how the current Grant County Courthouse courtroom will best be used to meet the public’s needs when the center opens.

“We still have not addressed any plans,” he said. “We won’t until we get these folks moved out. Then, we’ll look at it comprehensively and how we best serve the public by moving people around.”

An open house will be scheduled for the public once the center is complete.

“I think the people will be pleased once they see it,” Link said. “It will serve this community well for a number of years.”