Courthouse Plans Proceeding

Courthouse Plans Proceeding

By Mike Scott

Clark County’s Commissioners, elected officials and
residents viewed preliminary plans for the new Clark County Courthouse in a two
hour meeting, held in the Commissioners’ office on Tuesday morning, August 17.

The plans call for a 26,588 square foot building with a full
basement and two stories. Each floor will have 8856 square feet. The building will be situated on the current
site, with its main entrance facing south toward Court Street.

“This is the conclusion of the design development phase, but
that doesn’t mean the plans won’t be tweaked or adjusted,” said project
architect Eric Westhues. “The idea
today is to make sure we’re hitting your goals. The most important part is to verify where we are in regards to
the budget.”

The south parking lot will accommodate the same number of
parking spaces, but be designed to provide better traffic flow.

When a visitor enters the building, they will enter through
a canopied double door into an entry lobby.
From there they can go upstairs, downstairs, or directly into the first
floor corridor. The lobby also has the
only elevator in the building.

Several offices have been located in the basement, including
the Prosecuting Attorney, Child Support, Drug Court, Juvenile and Domestic
Violence offices. Also in the basement
will be the University of Missouri Extension offices.

“An advantage of having the Prosecuting Attorney’s office in
the basement is that it will allow for better confidentiality than if it was on
the courtroom level. They can also have
a lot more room,” said Westhues.

The balance of the basement area is designated for storage
and mechanical rooms.

On the main floor, visitors will proceed through inner
double doors, which can be locked to allow other areas of the building such as
the Extension Office, to remain open after normal hours. Visitors will enter a large central
corridor. On their left will be the
County Clerk’s Office, which will include the Commissioners’ meeting area,
along with space to allow offices for individual commissioners to be added in
the future.

Directly across the hallway to the east will be the County
Collector’s office. Next door down the
hallway on the right side will be the County Assessor’s office.

Across the hall, next to the County Clerk’s office will be
the County Recorder’s office. At the
end of the hallway on the left (west side) will be the County Treasurer’s
office. At the end of the hallway on
the right (east) side will public restrooms, and a non-public corridor to additional
storage, a break room, and employee restrooms.

All the offices on the main floor will have direct public
access.

The second floor will be the judicial level. The top of the stairs or elevator, there is
a large open area. To the left (west)
side, is the Court Clerk’s office area.
To the right, public restrooms and the entrance to the Associate Court
Room.

Visitors will enter the main courtroom through double doors
into a vestibule area with meeting rooms to each side, and then proceed through
the inner double doors into the Circuit Court Room, which will have seating for
120.

On area on the north end of the building, behind the
courtroom, will be not publicly accessible rooms for the jury, judges’ offices,
restrooms, and a holding room for prisoners.
Prisoners will be brought to the courtroom through a secure door on the
northeast side of the building, and up the stairs to the holding room.

The roof of the building is planned to be made steel, with a
recessed flat area on top. Rooftop air
conditioner units could be placed on top of the building, although some people
attending the meeting preferred having the units placed on the ground to limit
vibrations, which would potentially damage the room. Ground level units would also be easier to service, although they
would lose some efficiency by being further from the area they cool.

The recessed area of the roof would be covered with an EPDM
membrane with a 50 year warrantee, as well as have several roof drains.

The project is currently close to it’s $4 million dollar
budget

“Right now, my estimate is that we’re $9-10,000 more than
the budget will allow,” said Westhues.
“At this stage, I feel pretty good about that. We don’t have a lot of details finalized yet, and we have a lot
of decisions to make.”

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