Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Campbell County dedicates $31M courthouse renovation, expansion

Following three years of construction, Campbell County dedicated its new $31 million courthouse expansion and renovation project on Thursday.

The 96,780-square-foot expansion was needed because of the additional services the court provides, including mental health services, drug court, and parole services.

The courthouse now includes the latest computer, video, and networking technology. The design also features a single point of entry, making it one of the most secure courthouses in the state.

"Some questioned rebuilding the Court House during the great recession," said Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John Minton. "But this fits in so nicely with the fabric of this downtown. It's not only pretty on the outside, but it's very workable and usable on the inside."

Ten years ago, there was some discussion about moving court functions out of the existing 47,000-square-foot building at 300 York Street – built in 1884 – and possibly consolidating those functions in the county seat of Alexandria.

"The mayor, the four commissioners, the city manager, the city solicitor stepped up and said, 'What can we do to keep you in the City of Newport?'" said Bill Wehr, chair of the project development board.

Steve Pendery, Campbell County Judge/Executive, said that the building remains vital because it's representative of the iconic buildings that solidify Kentucky's downtowns.

"I want to congratulate the people who had the vision to save this building," he said. "Not only that, but to expand upon it."

Work now moves to the existing building's roof, mechanicals, and interiors. The remainder of the project should take approximately six months to complete.

So far, the project is under budget.

"We know it's taxpayers' money, and certainly we want to make sure that Northern Kentucky gets its fair share," said State Senator Katie Stine (R-24th). "And we wanted to make sure this place is safe, handicapped-accessible, so that everyone can come here and receive justice."