Wednesday, August 15, 2001
Steamboat Springs A group of residents and city and county officials wants to further explore public reaction to building a new facility to handle the county's crowded courtrooms before making a final decision on its design.
The Judicial Facility Committee on Wednesday night considered two design proposals for a new two-story building that would stand where the current parking lot sits on Fifth and Oak streets, next to the old courthouse and the courthouse annex building.
The proposed judicial facility would help to ease the crowded conditions in the courthouse, which is no longer in compliance with state standards for security and safety.
One design features a solid rectangular structure that faces the annex, allowing for a greater distance between the judicial facility and the annex.
The second design maintains a rectangular shape, but its entrance forms a right angle to the annex.
The committee tentatively decided to pursue the angled design.
"It strikes me that this is the type of community that might be willing to buy into something bolder," said Court Administrator Evan Herman, who also heads the committee.
"Don't sell this community short, that all they're going to do is want is something that is boxy and cheap."
Russ Sedmak, vice president of HLM Design of Denver, heads the team that presented the two differing sketches to the committee.
Eric Smith, a local architect, also contributed to the project.
Despite the committee's preference for the angled design, Smith cautioned members to weigh public distaste for flashier projects with the need for a practical structure that would pass public scrutiny.
"We have a very tough bond election ahead, with a public that would love to find fault with this," Smith said. "While we are intrigued at this opportunity to turn this building at an angle, we should be concerned that we don't do anything that might alienate a particular voting block."
Public input has been weak, and several committee members are concerned a majority of Routt County residents know anything about the project.
Sedmak, Smith and the rest of the team will present the committee's preference for the angled building to the community in a meeting tentatively set for Sept. 11.
City residents who live in areas surrounding the proposed site are strongly encouraged to share their input with the committee and the team. The general public is invited as well.
On Sept. 18, the Routt County Board of Commissioners will take action on the plan after considering community feedback.
The bond issue will be put to a vote in November 2002.