If you go
What: Grand opening of the Routt County Justice Center
When: 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Routt County Justice Center, 1955 Shield Drive
Call: For more information or to R.S.V.P., call 879-0108
Steamboat Springs The trees have been planted, the parking lot has been paved and the courtroom furniture has been polished. The railings are in, the terrazzo flooring is down and the windows have been washed.
After 19 months of construction, the new Routt County Justice Center will be unveiled in a dedication ceremony at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday on Shield Drive. The ceremony will begin with the placing of the 2007 cornerstone and time capsule. Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak and 14th Judicial District Chief Judge Michael O'Hara are scheduled to make opening remarks to kick off the three-hour grand opening, which the public is invited to attend.
Wednesday's ceremony will be the first time Routt County residents have the opportunity to tour the impressive building adjacent to the Routt County Jail west of Steamboat Springs.
After the ribbon cutting and opening remarks, the community is invited for an open house, which includes refreshments and time to explore the facility.
Fourteenth Judicial District Administrator Evan Herman said Monday that the opening of the building has been a long time coming.
"It was a good process," Herman said of working with the county to complete the project. "What's resulted is a great facility that will serve the citizens of Routt County for a very long time."
Stahoviak said she hopes residents will take advantage of a one-time opportunity to wander around the Justice Center before it opens.
"This is the only opportunity to access some of the areas that, once the facility is open and operating, will be closed for security purposes," she said.
From the ground up
Commissioner Doug Monger said the Justice Center is a state-of-the-art"facility because of its security system, which includes a tunnel to transport inmates from the Routt County Jail to the Justice Center.
"It includes everything courthouses have these days based on what's going on out there," he said.
On Friday, Tim Winter, the county's building and plant director, walked through the building pointing out what still needed to be done before Wednesday's grand opening, and reminiscing about what it was like to watch the building go from a mound of dirt to a completed Justice Center.
"It's looking pretty good," he said. "Everything went pretty smoothly. Nothing occurred that you don't anticipate with a large construction project. We made whatever changes we needed to as we went along."
Some of those changes included fixing leakage issues in the tunnel, which sits immersed in underground water and required innovative construction; finishing a fourth judge's chamber; and completing several public restrooms on the building's ground level, Winter said.
Winter estimated the total cost of the project to be about $18 million, including wetland mitigation. He said construction crews are in overdrive, completing last minute projects and putting finishing touches on the building.
"It's certainly a more intense operation," he said. "Things are stepped up. It's like the deadline's here."
Minor work, installing solar panels and some landscaping will continue even after the building opens, he said. The work shouldn't interfere with the operation of the court system because the remaining work is scheduled for after-hours and weekends, Winter said.
Monger said he is eager for Wednesday's ceremony.
"We're really proud to be opening the facility," he said Monday. "It'll be a landmark building for Routt County and Steamboat Springs. We're pleased to be moving on."
Winter said he picked a mid-September date for completion back in July. Residents issued upcoming court summons, tickets and other paperwork have been directed to the new Justice Center for months, he said.
"I had to make an educated guess when we we're going to open, and we're very close," he said. "It's a bit of a scramble at the end."
Current court officials, including judges, court clerks, administrators and the District Attorney's Office, will be packing boxes and moving to the new Justice Center this weekend, Herman said.
"We're closing shop on Friday and opening over there on Monday," he said. "That's it."
Herman said passing the downtown Routt County Courthouse to drive west for work might take some getting used to.
"I've been coming to this building for 20 years," he said. "It's a combination of excitement and awe."
"It's really exciting," he said. "I think the courts are excited to move in, and that's what makes me feel good. That and we've got some pretty neat stuff in here."