Tuesday, January 23, 2018

A different possibility for courthouse space problem

The Stillwater county Courthouse is an historical and beautiful building. However, we all know it needs upgrades such as wheelchair access and we have outgrown the office space.
I feel we should leave the first open for the Sheriff’s office, dispatch and booking of offenders. We could also have the victim/witness advocate office and the Juvenile Probation office all and the first floor. Perhaps we could turn one office into a holding cell for offenders until we can get them to Billings.
I suggest we move the rest of the courthouse employees to the grade school. It is already wheelchair accessible and the playground can be used for parking and expansion if need be. The gym could be turned into a nice courtroom with judge’s chamber and a nice conference room. The library space could be used for a waiting area for those taking their drivers exam and we could put a map there of the rest of the buildings offices.
Move the grade school kids to the middle school and the middle school kids to the high school.
Use the 15 million dollars that is to be spent for a new courthouse to build a new, state of the art, energy efficient high school on the property already purchased, out by the new hospital. It was purchased to build a new grade school on, but grade schools should be centered in town so children and their parents can walk to school or so children can ride their bikes to school. I don’t think we want grade school kids crossing 9th street or walking over a mile from the heights to school.
Tear down the old hospital and sell the lots. It has outlived its usefulness and needs a lot of work. Why throw good money after bad? The option of using the old hospital as a courthouse should be off the table.
Why spend millions of dollars on a new courthouse and many millions more on a new school? This solution solves two very expensive projects for the price of one and would save the county (the taxpayers) a lot of money.

Ric Hanson
Columbus