A new design feasibility study proposes a mix of new construction and remodeling that would keep Mohave County Courthouse facilities at the current location of the historic courthouse in downtown Kingman rather than near the new administration facility where the project was originally proposed. Consultants with the National Center for State Courts detailed the “Option B” plan during the December 15 Board of Supervisors meeting. The new plan is partly the result of community pressure to continue to use the historic property located just northeast of the Kingman City Complex. “The community has rallied around the option to keep the courthouse downtown which is important and I think the support would be there to move forward with that option,” said County Administrator Mike Hendrix, when asked his position as to location. Presiding Judge Chuck Gurtler said members of the judiciary previously voted 8-1 in support of keeping facilities where they are. He said Kingman City representatives are also supportive after some discussion about issues involving access and parking. The first phase of Option B would entail construction of a four story complex that would rise from what is currently a parking lot just east of the courthouse. The building would be home to the Clerk’s office on the first floor, eight courtrooms on the second and third floors and office quarters for judges and staff on the fourth floor. Most of what’s currently in the courthouse would move into the new wing once it’s completed. Phase two would entail renovation of about two thirds of the space for continued use in the historic courthouse and improvements of the annex located on the west end of the anchor. Possible future expansion through vertical construction of the west wing could further extend the functional use of the property according to Chang-Ming-Yeh, Principal Court Facility Planner for the National Center for State Courts. “The historic courthouse site is tight but it’s very promising with this new addition on the east wing and possible future expansion on the west wing,” Yeh said. Yeh said cost of Option B project development could total as much as $21.5-million, adding another 25% on top of that for architecture and engineering, furnishings and contingencies. He said a nicely landscaped courtyard would tie space between the buildings together. While each of the supervisors has expressed concern about expense of the project, Buster Johnson is the only Board member wanting to end county use of the historic courthouse. Johnson said it’s no doubt the most iconic structure in the county but he thinks security features required in today’s violence-prone world leave the facility better suited for other purposes. “I would rather see that maintained as an historic building and a new set of buildings built that we could secure not only for our personnel but also for the public,” Johnson said. County officials have not yet committed to any particular location or design approach but additional discussion and deliberation is expected early in 2015.
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