Eagle Co. OKs $24 million justice center project | AspenTimes.com

Eagle Co. OKs $24 million justice center project

Melanie Wong
Vail correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

EAGLE, Colo. ” Eagle County commissioners approved both the financing and construction contracts for a $24 million remodeling and expanding the Eagle County Justice Center on Tuesday.

FCI Constructors, Inc., the same company building the new schools in Edwards, were officially signed up for project. The Royal Bank of Canada will issue the certificates of participation, a form of lease financing, to fund the project.

The Justice Center agencies ” the sheriff’s office, district attorney’s office, and district courts ” made their cases to the public as to why the expansion, which has been labeled too expensive by some, is necessary.

The cramped quarters at the Justice Center are far more than a nusiance, but keep the agencies from doing their jobs, they said.

The fifth district court has far outgrown the Justice Center’s three courtrooms, said Judge Thomas Moorehead.

“Every square foot of the (new) facility is going to be immediately occupied,” he said.

There are five judges, and the existing courtrooms are too small, and the original jury room is being used as a staff room by administration employees, he said.

The courtrooms only have enough space for two litigating parties, while most modern trials have at least three parties. Lawyers and clients end up sitting at cardtables and tech staff are seated on the floors, Moorehead said.

There aren’t any private jury quarters or places for attorneys to meet with clients ” what should be private conversations end up happening in the hallway, attorneys said.

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