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Court looks to library for future site

by Larry Patrick
WALSENBURG- The County Commissioners held discussions with Jerry Marroney, Tom Franklin and Judge Claude Appel about courthouse space. The group says the current facilities on the third floor are not adequate for today’s court needs. Marroney, a former judge, says the third floor space is crowded and creates problems for confidentiality concerns. There is also no separation of adult and juvenile prisoners.
The group has looked at the Youth Camp facilities near the hospital and the second and third floors of the Spanish Peaks Library facility. Marroney, Franklin and Judge Appel favor having the court and probation facilities at the library. Marroney says the library building offers real potential.
The current square footage at the courthouse is around 5500 sq. feet while the second & third floors of the library is 12,000 sq. feet. Part of the third floor could also be used for other county or state office space.
If the move is made, the County would… be responsible for the remodeling, which could be as much as 1.3 million dollars, much less than building a new facility. The State of Colorado would be responsible for furnishings, security equipment and other needs. A secondary elevator would need to be installed to separate the court facilities from library patrons. Parking for the court could be in the rear of the library.
The day care center is located nearby. People often bring children to court and the day care center might be able to provide temporary care for additional revenue.
In order for the library to be considered for loans for the project, the County would need to own, partially own or have a long term lease on it.
The Commissioners had no problem with discussing the potential move, but will make no decisions for now.