Another chance for review of justice center

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— Wednesday will be of the final chances for residents to give county commissioners input on plans for the new justice center's interior.

At the public meeting, architects from HLM Design of Denver will present two floor-plan options for the building.

Commissioners have agreed that the building eventually will have four courtrooms.

One design up for consideration is a building with four courtrooms that all would be usable as soon as the building is finished, while the other design is for a building with four courtrooms, with one designated for office space until it is needed as a courtroom. In the latter design, when the fourth courtroom is needed, additions to the building would be made to provide space for offices.

"The meeting on Wednesday night is a culmination of several meetings concerning the size of the facility and why certain sizes of courtrooms and offices are needed," Routt County Manager Tom Sullivan said. "We're getting to the end of the discussions that the board has had with the citizens review (committee) concerning issues related to last year's proposal."

A proposed tax increase to fund the judicial center failed in public vote last year, in part because of residents' concerns over the building's location, size and cost, Sullivan said.

The location of the building, chosen last spring, will be south of the Routt County Jail along Shield Drive in an undeveloped lot within the Curve Subdivision.

Now commissioners have to decide how large the building will be and how it will be laid out. Once that decision is made, the building's exterior appearance and cost can be determined.

"It's still the commissioners' role to design the building," Routt County Building Director Tim Winter said, reiterating that county commissioners have the final decision on what sort of building they want. "But they wanted to go through a public process that gave everybody a chance to voice their opinion."

Last winter, commissioners were directed to build a new justice facility by 2006.

The cost of building the center has been estimated at about $12 million.

After Wednesday's public meeting, "commissioners will make some decisions to give direction to the architects," Sullivan said. "Even though they have decided not the makes this a ballot issue, they want to do what they think the community will support."

The justice center meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Routt County Commissioner's hearing room in the courthouse annex on Sixth Street.

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