Judicial facility questions to be answered

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— People who wonder why the county can't build its new courtrooms smaller or reduce the probation department staff's office space are invited to hear why Wednesday night.

Two men familiar with size requirements for courtrooms and related court functions in Colorado will explain how the state came up with those standards.

Bob Bernard and architect John Gossett work for the Office of the State Court Administrator. Both men know the ins and outs of building judicial facilities that comply with state-mandated measurements.

Court Administrator Evan Herman hopes their input helps people better understand how the county's hands are somewhat tied when it comes to building the proposed justice center.

The state did not just throw out some random numbers and demand counties to build their judicial facilities accordingly, he said.

The third floor of the Routt County Courthouse provides 11,200 square feet for two district court judges, one county judge and court administration.

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 officials have said a 40,000-square-foot building is not out of the question.

The county's new justice center must provide space for three courtrooms, probation staff, court administration, jury deliberation, judges' chambers and the District Attorney's Office.

A volunteer committee of county officials and residents has been meeting monthly to make decisions about the look, cost and site of the justice center.

Routt County officials and the architects tasked with designing the justice center stress that sketches and figures presented during the meetings are not final.

"Again, this is not set in stone," County Commissioner Doug Monger said. A site for the justice center hasn't yet been decided, either.

Two sites near the Routt County Jail could accommodate the new building, but the county is still negotiating on the final location.

A decision is expected next month.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the commissioners' hearing room in the Routt County Courthouse annex.

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