BACKUS - Cass County Board voted Nov. 20 to authorize paying Wold Architects and Engineers up to $47,000 to identify space needs and do preliminary designs for a new court building, which likely will be located on Ah-Gwah-Ching property.
The final location choice will be dependent upon the county purchasing that site from the state within the next year.
Courtrooms, probation department, county attorney offices and court administration offices would move from the courthouse in downtown Walker to a new building at Ah-Gwah-Ching or another location outside downtown by 2010. Designing is planned for this year, with construction to take place in 2009.
Estimated cost would be $9 million to $11 million, partly depending upon costs to remodel the existing courthouse spaces in the old courthouse for other county uses. The new courts building would have space for three or four courtrooms, an expansion from the present two.
The county will remodel some spaces in the old courthouse this year at a cost of up to $10,000 to accommodate the third, part-time judge who is expected to begin serving the county in 2008.
The new judge will conduct hearings in a space currently used for hearings and interactive television. Adjacent spaces will be remodeled for offices for the judge, clerk and court reporter. This will include shrinking the law library space, so an office can be added there and remodeling a small hearing room into an office.
The board deferred authorizing any spending to remodel other spaces in the courthouse for attorney-client conference areas.
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