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Meetings to start for new judicial center

Work is about to begin on plans for Jessamine County’s new judicial center with an online Zoom meeting.

The Jessamine County Judicial Center Project Development Board is scheduled to meet Oct. 7 online to begin making steps toward the eventual construction of the $28.4 million facility.

Jessamine County Judge-Executive David West, who will be a member of the board, said it will oversee the entire project, from hiring architects and construction companies to selecting the site.

When completed, the judicial center will house the Circuit Clerk’s Office as well as the district and circuit courtrooms in one facility. Presently, the circuit courtroom and judge’s chambers are in the Jessamine County Courthouse, while the clerk’s office and district court are in a separate building next door.

The board members will include West, Jessamine Circuit Judge Hunter Daugherty, Jessamine District Judge Bill Oliver, Jessamine Circuit Clerk Doug Fain and several representatives from the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC). Mark East was chosen as an attorney representative, and Paul “Sankey” Bingham will be the community representative.

“We’ll be responsible for selecting the property, developing plans and choosing a general contractor or construction manager,” West said.

The county already owns a large tract of property in downtown that could be used for the project, he said.

Thought the project was included in the judicial budget in April, the money won’t be available until the 2022-24 biennium, he said. By the time everything is completed, it could take longer than that.

“This could be a four-year project, but it’s paid for by AOC,” West said. “Obviously, we have to design this to serve the people of Jessamine County for the next 75 years.”

Once the judicial center is completed, space within the current 142-year-old courthouse can be reallocated. One possibility could see the county clerk’s office expand throughout the main floor of the courthouse, and other county government offices move to the second floor, West said.

“Our county clerk is getting cramped for space,” he said. “We may be able to revamp this whole (second) floor into something else.”

About Fred Petke

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

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