Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Prosecuting attorney pushes for major remodel

Express Staff Writer

The bottom floor of the Old County Courthouse, which houses the prosecuting attorney's offices, could receive upward of $345,000 in upgrades if the Blaine County Commission approves a proposed remodel.

The remodel, which is being designed by Steve Trout, of Trout Architects, would include roomier facilities, a new heating and air conditioning system, restrooms, showers and furniture and a modern audio-visual system in the conference room.

The county would fund the project with its own budget, and there would be no additional strain on taxpayers.

"This is kind of a first look at it," said Blaine County Clerk Jolynn Drage. "We need to look at the estimates and see what we can do."

Tim Graves, Blaine County's chief deputy prosecuting attorney, stressed that he wants "to make sure we get (the remodel) right."

"With our needs we're trying to make it work for the long haul," he told county commissioners on Tuesday. "It makes sense to us to go forward and get it done all at once," rather than piecemeal.

Drage said a past remodel of the Old County Courthouse's second floor, which was done in a rushed and incomplete manner, should serve as a lesson of what not to do in the future.

Prosecuting Attorney Jim Thomas said he's just looking for a remodel that will make the bottom floor offices more "professional and efficient."

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