A NEW BEGINNING: After nearly 100 years, Slope County operating from new courthouse

Out with the old, in with the new. In October 2014, Slope County entered a new era when the county employees moved into the new courthouse building in Amidon.

After a century of operating in one building, Slope County’s newly constructed courthouse is up and running. The Slope County Courthouse features a new courtroom equiped with an updated judge’s bench. The room also houses other city and county meetings.  [Photos by Cole Benz | The Herald]
After a century of operating in one building, Slope County’s newly constructed courthouse is up and running. The Slope County Courthouse features a new courtroom equiped with an updated judge’s bench. The room also houses other city and county meetings. [Photos by Cole Benz | The Herald]
By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor | cbenz@countrymedia.net

Out with the old, in with the new. In October 2014, Slope County entered a new era when the county employees moved into the new courthouse building in Amidon. The employees were given the green light to start work in the new building about one year after the initial construction bid was awarded.

Though they have been in the building for nearly four months, county employees are now just getting used to the environment. When they initially began working in the new courthouse, there were still unfinished portions of the building.

One of those portions included the courtroom.

The new courtroom is a dual purpose space that houses court proceedings as well as commissioner meetings. February was the first month that both court and commissioners meeting were held. The new room features high, vaulted ceilings with a sky light.

Included in the new space is a large judge’s bench that the other courthouse building lacked. Eventually the court room will be getting a jury seating section, but final details on that portion have yet to be decided.

Installed during construction was an electronic locking system for all of the doors in the building. The new system allows them to be programed to lock at designated times. It is a nice amenity for the employees because they can’t forget to lock up at the end of the day, the system does it for them. If they need to get in after the locked hours, each employee was issued a special device that will unlock the door for them.

The system is also handy when dealing with after-hours meetings. For example, the courthouse features a ‘community conference room’ that’s available for use. The system allows the entrance near the room to unlock at a designated time prior to the meeting. The system can then be scheduled to unlock the adjacent door to the hallway restrooms without compromising the security of the rest of the building.

Automatic lights in all of the rooms were also added to the new building. The lights are motion and vocally driven, they require either movement or vowel sounds to be activated. So if an employee is sitting at his or her desk and the lights go off, they just need to speak or wave their hand for them to flicker on again.

Slope County Auditor Lorrie Bazulsky said that everyone who worked at the old courthouse is operating at the new one, but the available space has increased.

For instance, where an employee and their secretary needed to share an office before, there is now enough room for each to have their own space to operate in.

The increased space availability has also afforded the Emergency Manager to create an Emergency Operations Center at the new building.

“It (office space) wasn’t available before, and so they adapted, the did what they had to do,” Bazulsky said. “Now they have more options.”

There are still a few kinks to be worked out before it is up and running 100 percent, such as the heating and cooling system.

Outside of the new courthouse there still is some work to do. The old building was torn down at the end of October and a parking lot will eventually be poured at the location. The contractors were hoping to get it poured before winter according to Bazulsky, but winter weather interferred with goal and now they are aiming for the end of March or beginning of April.

Also, more sidewalk area will need to be poured when the weather is suitable. The flags that stood in front of the old building will also be moved to the front of the new building.

Anyone interested the community conference room should contact the courthouse to inquire about available times.

Share this post

GAMES