The Greene County Judicial Courts Facility has grown by two courtrooms via a court-ordered expansion totaling about $3.2 million. Greene County spokeswoman Trysta Herzog said the project also includes renovations throughout the 1010 Booneville Ave. building.
The county received the order in May 2016, and renovations began before year’s end. The courtrooms were created in the former prosecuting attorney’s office, which moved to the Cox Medical Tower on Dec. 19, 2016. Herzog said the PA office plans to stay there for the foreseeable future, until the budget allows otherwise. The county pays about $207,000 annually to rent the space.
“We don’t have the budget really to build a new building on our existing campus in order to bring those folks back to the campus property,” she said. “If we were to build and add a facility, we would build to house more offices than just the prosecuting attorney. But at this time, without additional revenue, we really can’t make plans for that.”
Funding for the project comes from the law enforcement sales tax, $2.4 million; general revenue, $485,000; a commission-controlled fund specifically for judicial facility purposes, $210,000; and 31st Circuit Court controlled monies, $105,000. While the project is ongoing, Greene County Budget Officer Jeff Scott said the final tally should be close to the planned $3.2 million when it wraps up before year’s end.
Court Administrator Jerry Moyer said the first new courtroom will house Judge Jason Brown, for “large-dollar” civil cases. Judge Ron Carrier will work in the second room handling criminal and “small-dollar” civil cases.
The additions bring the courthouse to 17 courtrooms, a much-needed number, Moyer said, noting the courts were using space in the Greene County Historic Courthouse, around the corner at 940 Booneville Ave.
“For the last probably three years, we had a courtroom located in the historic courthouse, and that was just because we didn’t have any empty courts here, so they set up a temporary courtroom there,” he said. “Then we’ve also acquired additional associate circuit judges, so through those additional judges, we have additional needs for more space for them to hear cases.”
Also operating in the Judicial Courts Facility, next to the county Justice Center, are victim witness advocates, pretrial services and the circuit clerk.
According to the Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association, a courtroom dedication is planned 4 p.m. on Sept. 28 in Brown’s new Division III courtroom.
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