Meeting July 16

The Jefferson County Board of Commissioners is inviting the public to a July 16 meeting to hear an update on the county's new courthouse project.

At the meeting, which will be held at 5:30 p.m. in the commissioners' meeting room at 66 S.E. D St., in Madras, those attending will have the opportunity to hear about the progress on the project, as well as provide feedback to the commissioners and architects about the courthouse features, design, layout, and exterior materials.

“We understand that most citizens are only going to the courthouse if they get a traffic ticket or serve on jury duty, so for most residents the most tangible aspect of the courthouse will be how it looks from the outside,” said Mike Ahern, commission chairman.

“If citizens are interested in voicing an opinion in what they want in this building, this is their opportunity to provide feedback.  We are under some time constraints to have a workable schematic design to the state by December to be eligible to receive the funding in March 2015,” continued Ahern.

After an update on the progress of the courthouse project, DLR Group and HSR Master Planning and Architecture will present different options for the design and the attendees will be allowed to indicate their preferences by “voting” for different categories and examples.

Attendees will be given an opportunity to indicate their preferences and things they do not want to see in the design. The informal process ensures that attendees can voice their opinions without pressure to standup and make a speech.

The new Jefferson County Courthouse project is rapidly moving forward.  In February, the State Legislature awarded the project $4,065,000 of the estimated cost of $12,895,000 for the new building. The county had requested $5,526,550 for the project.

“We are continuing to review options and are hopeful the State Legislature will fund the remaining $1.4 million when they return to Salem in January 2015," said Commissioner John Hatfield. "We hear that it will receive a good reception.”

Last month, the county went through the public bidding process to select two important services for the courthouse project. The selection committee included the three county commissioners, Circuit Court Judge Annette Hillman, and trial court Administrator Amy Bonkosky.

They selected Compass Project Solutions (Bend and Keizer) to be the county’s representative as the construction project manager. Additionally, the committee selected a collaboration between DLR (Portland/Seattle) and HSR (Bend) to lead the architectural/design services.

“DLR/HSR combined have an outstanding history of courthouse and public safety building design expertise. This unique experience will assist in the designing of a fully functional courthouse space that has safety as a top priority,” said Commissioner Wayne Fording.

The courthouse will be constructed west of the new Madras City Hall on property the city donated to the county for the courthouse project. Initial construction estimates have construction starting in June 2015 and the opening of the building in August 2016.

The building is being planned to be 35,000 square feet and will include four courtrooms and space for the District Attorney’s Office.

In October 2013, the county bought a 9,000-square-foot building adjacent to the new courthouse location that will house the Juvenile Justice Department and the Adult Community Corrections Department.

The new courthouse will replace the 21,000-square-foot courthouse on C Street that was built in 1961. The state has identified the building as "at risk" during a seismic event. The building is also located in the Willow Creek floodway, which restricts expansion of the existing structure.

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