Heavy rains have flushed the Junction City Municipal Court out of its building at 225 E. 7th Street and into a new space.
The original building flooded last month and forced activity into a site across from city hall at 701 N. Jefferson Street.
City Manager Cheryl Beatty says the city was actually already considering a potential plan to move the Municipal Court into the new space on N. Jefferson, but a decision wasn’t going to be made for a while.
“So we just didn’t think we would be in this kind of a tight schedule based on a tragedy, rather than based on well thought-out plans,” Beatty says.
A quick move means they had to put expansion plans on the back burner.
“It’s a tight fit,” Beatty adds.
The courtroom at the new site currently seats about 15-20 people to comply with fire standards, while staff says the former location had a capacity of about 100.
“Rather than having the court available for anybody to come in and view and witness, it’s limited capacity,” Beatty says, “They’re having to reschedule and juggle things.”
Now comes the decision of whether to repair the damaged building or expand the new one. Some signs point to the new site.
“We’re looking at a design that would be a combination courtroom and city commission room,” Beatty says.
But city officials won’t decide until they know how much each plan will cost.
“We do not know the cost for remediation, new roof or repairing the walls in the basement in the old building,” Beatty says, “In the building right across from city hall, they estimate in a range of $800,000 to $950,000.”
A decision will be made by the end of this year, Beatty says. The money for either project will come out of the city’s capital investment fund, which it already has set aside.