LANCASTER — Garrard County residents might be using their new $11.9 million judicial center as early as June.
Construction workers are busy installing electrical and mechanical systems, plumbing and drywall inside the building, site supervisor Todd Sadler said. Workers already are preparing for the next phase, which will involve painting, custom woodwork and installation of doors. Those steps could begin within the next 30-60 days, Sadler said.
When completed, the judicial center will house the county’s district, circuit, family and drug courts, as well as the circuit court clerk offices.
Judge-Executive John Wilson said the building will feature strong security measures mandated by state law. For example, the center will have three separate stairwells and elevators — one set for public use, one for transporting prisoners to and from court, and one for judges and staff.
A major upgrade will be the center’s new, spacious quarters for judges. Wilson said the state has ratios for how big judges’ quarters should be based on caseload, and Garrard actually had to get permission to make the quarters smaller than usual so the courtrooms could be made bigger.
Another feature is a special room where children involved in cases can wait and play with toys. The room has a two-way mirror, making it possible for a judge to observe a child’s interactions without interfering, among other potential uses, Wilson said.
Sadler said completion of construction isn’t entirely up to the construction team.
“We’re kind of at Mother Nature’s mercy, but we are moving forward as fast as we can,” he said.
Once the painting and flooring have been completed, the final step will be “a whole lot of testing and tuning to get the building where it needs to be,” Sadler said.
Workers will calibrate the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system and get the building’s computer and security systems up and running. Then the county can start moving in.