County renovations take shape

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Pictured above is a rendering of the future front entrance of the Union County Judicial Center, comprised of the courthouse and adjoining justice center.

(Graphic submitted)

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Union County officials gathered today to break ground on construction that will renovate the former Richwood Bank building and the entrance to the Justice Center. The county prosecutor will move into the building once it’s complete. Picture breaking ground from left: Commissioner Charles Hall, Prosecutor Dave Phillips, Judge Don Fraser, Commissioner Steve Stolte, Judge Charlotte Eufinger and Commissioner Chris Schmenk.

(Journal-Tribune photo by Michael Williamson)

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Officials broke ground Thursday for the construction project that will move the Union County Prosecutor’s Office into a new space as well as redo the entrance to the justice center.

The first phase will have crews begin the process of renovating the interior of the former Richwood Bank and adding square footage to the area former used as a drive-thru.

Prosecutor Dave Phillips said he is excited to take this step to help upgrade the functionality of the office.

“This is something that will greatly improve the safety and efficiency of our work environment,” Phillips said. “Not only will it help us in the office but it will help the people we work with on a daily basis.”

The prosecutor’s office is currently located on the third floor of the justice center. Over time, temporary walls and dividers have been added to offer more private workspaces for employees.

“This entire floor was originally intended to be the prosecutor’s office,” Phillips said who has been in the justice center location since 2005. “As a consequence of the work involved and the county’s growth over the years, we’ve just outgrown the current space.”

Phillips said he worked directly with Silling and Associates, the architects who designed the new look, to put together a list of goals that would improve the office.

“We tried to look at things we could do in the design phase that would accommodate our needs,” Phillips said. “We focused on the security of the people in here and the safety and comfort of the families we work with.”

Phillips said the new space would offer employees private workspaces rather than a tradition cubicle design. It will also have more conference rooms to accommodate trial preparation and storage.

“One of the things we did was to turn the office into a grouping of sections,” Phillips said. “This will hopefully help members of the public that we work with to feel more comfortable in the office. There will be a conference room available to them as well as public restrooms which is something we don’t have in our current building.”

He said the project is slated for 300 days of construction, which would put the finishing date sometime in April 2020. The project bid came in at $3,391,700, which was the total amount for both bank renovations and the justice center work.

“This building isn’t just going to be for us today,” Phillips added. “It’s being specifically designed for growth. The goal is to have it last for at least the growth over the next 15-20 years and beyond that.”



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