County OKs development plan

Commissioners approve new judicial facility

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— Routt County commissioners finished eight months of work Tuesday when they approved a development plan for a new judicial facility.

The plan, which includes a new courthouse and parking structure at the county's complex at Sixth and Oak streets, will be submitted to Steamboat Springs officials for review later this year.

"What we have come up with is something that is very good," Commissioner Dan Ellison said. "I think it respects what we already have here and will be accepted in the future."

The Steamboat Springs Planning Commission is expected to review the plans in June. County officials hope the City Council will review the project in July.

County officials believe the two city boards can approve the development plans even though the county still needs to secure funding for the project in the Nov. 5 election.

The county plans to seek a bond issue for the project but still needs to determine how much the proposed facility and parking structure will cost. That should be known later this week.

Commissioners approved the plan after reviewing the parking structure design Tuesday afternoon. Last week, commissioners approved of the design for the judicial facility.

The proposed multilevel parking structure will provide 127 parking spaces on three decks.

The brick garage, which will be built on the southwest corner of Fifth and Oak streets, would not include an elevator. Rather, handicapped parking spaces will be available on the first and second decks. The second floor will be connected to the courthouse annex with a bridge.

The west side of the structure is 13 feet high. The east side of the structure will be higher, 20 feet, because of the third deck on this portion of the garage.

Although a design has been approved, officials have not determined what color the structure will be.

The judicial facility, which would be built on the southwest corner of Sixth and Oak streets, will be a "buff" color, matching the current courthouse.

The 53,000-square-foot building would include three courtrooms, conference rooms, holding cells and office space for court staff, prosecutors and the county's probation department. The building would also provide space for a fourth courtroom if needed in the future.

The five-sided building's most prominent features are a glass facade and a domed tower.

The designs were submitted by a committee that worked closely with the county's Denver-based architect, HML Design.

The architectural firm was hired in February 2001 and started to focus on the design of the facility and the parking garage with the committee last August.

The state has said the county's current courthouse, which was built in 1923, does not meet state standards. The existing facility houses a county judge and two district court judges in two courtrooms and is 11,200 square feet.

The state requires a county with three judges to have a facility of at least 33,200 square feet.

County officials are proposing to renovate and remodel the existing courthouse. The new office space would be used by county departments that lease office space.

To place the bond question on the ballot, the county must notify the county clerk's office by July 29.

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