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Judicial center board starts meetings, decisions

Sometime this decade, Jessamine County will have a new judicial center, with all courtrooms, judges’ chambers and the clerk’s office under one roof.

Beyond that, not much else is known at this point. Will it be a stand-alone building or an addition to the Jessamine County Courthouse? Will a general contractor or a construction manager oversee the project? Where will it be built? 

The Jessamine County Project Development Board held its inaugural public meeting a week ago to begin discussing some of those questions. The members include Judge-Executive David West, who serves as chairman, Jessamine Circuit Judge Hunter Daugherty, Jessamine District Judge Bill Oliver, County Attorney Brian Goettl and others, including county residents, attorneys and the Administrative Office of the Courts.

The first tasks, West said, will be to secure a financial advisor for the project and an architect, followed by the matter of a construction manager or general contractor.

Things are already in place to advertise for proposals for architects and financial advisors, which will expire by the end of November.

Administrative Office of the Courts Director of Facilities Dan Rhoades told the board members it would take AOC officials a couple of weeks to review the proposals, and they would be turned over to the board members about a week before the next meeting. The meeting was set for 2 p.m. Dec. 2 in the Jessamine Circuit Courtroom.

Daugherty and Oliver have already been through this process when Garrard County, which shares the judicial circuit, built its justice center about 20 years ago, West said.

Both said they chose who it seemed the board could work best with.

“As a board, we tell them what we want and they have to respond to it,” Daugherty said about choosing an architect.

“They all look good on paper,” Oliver said. “For me, it was a decision on how good it felt with those actually working with us.”

West said the funding has been approved for the project, but it won’t be available until the 2022-24 biennium. The $28.4 million project is funded by AOC.

 

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@bluegrassnewsmedia.com or call 859-759-0051.

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