On design, layout, materials

Photo Credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO - The county will consider preliminary plans for a new Jefferson County Courthouse at a public meeting Sept. 10. The courthouse will be built just west of the new Madras City Hall and Police Station.The Jefferson County Commission is looking for public input on its plans to build a courthouse next year.

The public is invited to a meeting Wednesday, Sept. 10, at 5:30 p.m., in the commission's meeting room in the courthouse annex at 66 S.E. B St., to hear an update on the progress and provide feedback to the commissioners and architects about the courthouse features, design, layout, and exterior materials.

The Sept. 10 meeting will be the second public meeting on the design plans. On July 16, commissioners held an evening meeting to receive input from the public about design options. Since then, the commissioners, county staff, court staff, and a county judge have been working with the architects to design the interior space layout.

“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 noticeable aspect of the courthouse will be how it looks from the outside,” said Chairman Mike Ahern. “If citizens are interested in voicing an opinion in what they want in this building, this is another opportunity to provide feedback.”

The new courthouse project is rapidly moving forward. On Aug. 27, the commissioners awarded a contract to Skanska USA Building, which will construct the courthouse under a construction management/general contractor agreement.

“Having our contractor on the team this early in the design stage of the project is one of the true benefits of the CM/GC procurement method,” said Ricardo Becerril, project manager for Jefferson County.

“Capturing the contractor’s perspective while the design is progressing is very intuitive and we expect to see a very successful construction project as a result of it with fewer challenges, obstacles and design changes,” said Becerril, of Compass Project Solutions.

Skanska is currently completing the 509-J School District’s Performing Arts Center and other districtwide improvements in Madras.

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.”

In June, the county selected a collaboration between DLR (Portland/Seattle) and HSR (Bend) to lead the architectural/design services.

The courthouse will be constructed west of the new Madras City Hall on 1.85 acres that 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 expected to be approximately 33,000 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 being at risk during a seismic event.

The building is also located in the Willow Creek floodway that restricts expansion of the existing structure.

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