Seven months of work begins | SummitDaily.com
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Seven months of work begins

CHRISTINE McMANUS
Summit Daily/Reid Williams Fifth Judicial District Chief Judge Terry Ruckriegle, right, speaks Wednesday before county and court officials at the ceremonial groundbreaking of an expansion project at the Summit County Justice Center.
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BRECKENRIDGE – Wednesday’s balmy temperatures bode well for the next seven months of construction on the expansion of the Summit County Justice Center.

The 45,000-square-foot justice center will receive a 5,000-square-foot addition on the south end between now and December.

That means more parking, a third courtroom and smoother operations for judicial proceedings, said Christine M. Yuhas, Fifth Judicial District Court administrator.

“It’s going to be a lot more efficient when the expansion is finished,” Yuhas said. “Sometimes we have to delay a case because we don’t have a courtroom. With another district courtroom we’ll be able to move cases a lot faster.”

The next few weeks court will be held in various off-site locations throughout the county as construction work begins.

The courts are playing catch-up with the growth boom that hit Summit County through the 1990s.

District Court has seen the greatest increase in caseloads, Yuhas said.

As opposed to County Court cases consisting mostly of traffic violations, District Court sees the more serious cases, such as domestic law, felonies and civil cases, she said.

In 2002, the Colorado Legislature authorized two new judges for the Fifth Judicial District.

The expansion will add a third courtroom, judges’ chambers, jury rooms, evidence and audio/visual technology rooms and upgraded security.

Officials from the Fifth Judicial District and Summit County ceremoniously stuck shovels in the ground Wednesday afternoon to kick off the expansion of the Summit County Justice Center.

“I’d like to thank the county commissioners for helping coordinate this expansion,” said District Court Judge Terry Ruckriegle. “We began working on this a few years ago. Everyone I know will appreciate the opportunity to come out and conduct their business efficiently instead of in shared courtrooms.”

Once the $1.7 million expansion is finished, the justice center will finally be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The act was passed in 1990, five years after the justice center was originally built.

The much needed expansion has been high on the county’s capital improvement list since 2002, said a press release from county manager Ron Holliday.

The expansion will place the building within 60 feet of North Park Avenue, which will soon be the re-routed Highway 9.

Also, the justice center site someday will see a Sheriff’s Office expansion and a detention facility expansion. The justice center site stretches across Rankin Avenue to the grounds across the street from the justice center and library.

General contractor Keith Pitts of TCD Inc., said he expects a completion date of the judicial expansion in December, with much of the exterior work finished before the first snowfall.

Christine McManus can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229 or at cmcmanus@summitdaily.com.


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