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County considers options for new courthouse design

Plans now call for two-story building


by: HOLLY M. GILL - From left, County Counsel Alexa Gassner, county administrative assistant Barb Andresen, Courtney Quale, and Kurt Symons, community corrections director, check out photos of other courthouses around the state and mark the courthouse projects they find most appealing and unappealing.The architecture firms designing the new Jefferson County Courthouse presented their ideas for the new facility at a public meeting July 16.

The current plans call for a 33,900-square-foot, two-story building to be built on the northwest corner of the property where the Madras City Hall and Police Department is located. The city has donated the property for the new courthouse to the county.

Originally, the designers were considering a three-story facility, but Bill Valdez, principal with DLR Group, one of the two firms working on the plans, said that for the purposes of "being a good neighbor" and efficiency, "It made a lot of sense to bring the scale of the building down to the two-story option."

The DLR Group, a national firm specializing in public facilities, has had a Northwest presence for nearly 100 years. For the local project, DLR has joined with HSR Architecture, of Bend, which has been working on the project since 2008.

by: HOLLY M. GILL - Bill Valdez, left, principal with DLR Group, which is designing the courthouse, along with Larry Smith, also of DLR, and Leslie Hara Shick, principal with HSR Architecture, right, discuss the plans following the public meeting.Tim Ganey, project architect for DLR, said that they intend to retain trees on the west side of the project as a buffer separating the public facility from the residential area to the west.

Calling the site plan "tight," Ganey said that besides the building and trees, most of the rest of the site will be used for parking, on the south and east sides.

The facility will face the Veterans Memorial Plaza in front of the City Hall, and a sally port for escorting prisoners into the courthouse will be located on the west side.

Attorney Jennifer Kimble noted that she really appreciates the inclusion of private rooms for attorneys to meet with clients, which the current courthouse does not have.

"If I don't have a private place, I have to set it over," she said.

The layout includes two smaller courtrooms that seat 30, one medium-sized courtroom to accommodate about 50, and one larger courtroom to handle about 80 people, as well as six rooms for prosecutors and attorneys to conduct private meetings.

Valdez said that he expects the final bid documents for the project to be completed in spring to early summer 2015, and expects the construction process to take about 12 months. The county intends to publish a request for proposal for a general contractor this week.

Ricardo Becerril, of Compass Project Solutions Inc., has been hired as the county's project manager, "to help the county make sure everything the county wants gets incorporated," he said.

Following the architects' presentation, the public was invited to visit with the archictects and look over photos of other courthouses to indicate their preferences.




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