Steamboat Springs The building expected to hold the county's new courtrooms and judicial staff will be a smaller a version of what voters rejected last fall, but just how small is in question.
County officials are concerned the redesign of the proposed justice center could become a how-low-can-you-go discussion about square feet.
Voters said no to a 52,000 square-foot downtown facility in November.
The architectural firm that designed the failed project offered a more conservative rendition of its original proposal last week.
Ted Halsey, an architect with HLM Design, presented a barebones sketch of what the justice center could look like to a few dozen residents and county officials.
His redesign showed a two-story building that measured about 30,000 square feet.
Halsey suggested his slimmed-down redesign was doable.
County officials aren't so sure.
At least 35,000 square feet is needed to comply with the court order that requires Routt County to provide a safe and adequate court facility, County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said.
Retired 14th Judicial District Judge Richard Doucette ordered the county to build a new court facility with three courtrooms that meet current court standards by Jan. 1, 2006.
The third floor of the Routt County Courthouse provides 11,200 square feet for two district court judges, one county judge and court administration.
The rough draft Halsey presented last week included space for three courtrooms, probation staff, court administration, jury deliberation, judges' chambers and the District Attorney's Office.
But the size he spoke of did not take into account an estimated 4,800 square feet needed to house the District Attorney's Office in the justice center, project coordinator Tim Winter said.
The additional square footage bumps up a 30,000 square-foot building to almost 35,000 square feet, he said.
The county decided earlier to move the District Attorney's Office to the justice center upon completion, Stahoviak said.
A volunteer committee of county officials and residents that has been meeting monthly to make decisions about the look, cost and site of the justice center, decided at last week's meeting that a basement floor was desirable.
The extra square footage would also add to the size of the building, Winter said.
"We're probably going to have to build a 40,000 square-foot building," he said.
Halsey and his colleague, Russell Sedmack, stressed the barebones sketch was far from final floor plans.
County officials stressed that everything that needs to go into the new justice center cannot fit in a 30,000 square-foot building.
The next meeting to discuss the justice center is scheduled for 7 p.m. May 14 in the commissioners' hearing room.