Ground bro­ken for new court­house

Record Observer - - Front Page - By MIKE DAVIS mdavis@kibay­times.com

CEN­TRE­VILLE — Elected of­fi­cials, past and present, county em­ploy­ees and cit­i­zens of Queen Anne’s County gath­ered at the work­site of the new Cir­cuit Court­house in Cen­tre­ville at 3 p.m. Tues­day, Aug. 23, for the of­fi­cial ground­break­ing.

Though de­mo­li­tion be­gan in early Au­gust with crews tak­ing down the old Board of Elec­tions and State’s At­tor­ney’s of­fices on Com­merce Street, more than 60 peo­ple gath­ered for the gold shovel cer­e­mony.

The 42,000-sq.-ft., two-story court­house was de­signed by Beyer Blin­der Belle Ar­chi­tects and will be con­structed by Mul­lan Con­tract­ing Com­pany at a cost of $19,395,694. The con­tract was awarded on June 22. Court­house con­struc­tion is to be sub­stan­tially com­pleted on May 2, 2018, and the county be­lieves the court­house will be fully func­tional in late fall of 2018, of­fi­cials said.

“This project was years in the mak­ing and spanned three sep­a­rate county ad­min­is­tra­tions from land pur­chase to ar­chi­tec­tural plans and now fi­nally con­struc­tion,” County Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Mark An­der­son said. “I would like to thank the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tions that helped shepherd this project through the years.”

The build­ing, re­plac­ing the cur­rent court­house that has been in op­er­a­tion for more than 220 years, will house two full-ser­vice court­rooms, one masters court­room, a fam­ily ser­vices cen­ter and two de­ten­tion ar­eas with com­pre­hen­sive se­cu­rity mea­sures. Both the build­ing and the grounds will meet ADA re­quire­ments. The court­house will fea­ture the new Mary­land Elec­tronic Court­house sys­tem.

“The last ground­break­ing for a court­house in Queen Anne’s County was 225 years ago. To put that in some con­text, Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton was in his first term as pres­i­dent, the United States Con­sti­tu­tion was less than five years old,” Cir­cuit Court Judge Thomas G. Ross said. “When it comes to his­tor­i­cal court­houses, Queen Anne’s County has no peer.”

Ross said that though the cur­rent court­house is an im­pres­sive feat of his­tory, the con­struc­tion of the new build­ing comes at a “pro­pi­tious mo­ment.” On July 18, he said, the county be­gan us­ing the elec­tronic court sys­tem where all doc­u­ments be­gan to be trans­mit­ted over the in­ter­net. The court dock­et­ing and sign­ing of or­ders is com­pleted on­line, he said.

“The ju­di­ciary has no power of the purse. It is a dif­fi­cult fi­nan­cial de­ter­mi­na­tion be­cause courts gen­er­ate lit­tle rev­enue,” Ross said. “Build­ing this court­house at this time is the right thing to do. The ad­min­is­tra­tion of jus­tice in Queen Anne’s County and the cit­i­zens of this county will be well served by this fa­cil­ity for many years to come.”

Cir­cuit Court Clerk Scott MacGlashan thanked var­i­ous in­di­vid­u­als, as well as the court­house com­mit­tee, for the their sup­port and ded­i­ca­tion in get­ting the county to the point of ground­break­ing. MacGlashan thanked the former county com­mis­sion­ers say­ing the court­house was not a new dream but one in the works since he was orig­i­nally elected in 1994.

“Those cit­i­zen politi­cians that now in­clude our cur­rent com­mis­sion­ers saw the need for what your court must pro­vide ... ac­cess to jus­tice and thus pub­lic trust and con­fi­dence.”

MacGlashan added: “Let gen­er­a­tions that fol­low us rec­og­nize and ap­pre­ci­ate what we start here to­day, es­pe­cially as they will quickly be able to rec­og­nize the sym­bol of our na­tional bird, the Amer­i­can Ea­gle, that will con­tinue to stand guard in the ped­i­ment of both this new court­house and the cur­rent his­tor­i­cal icon across the street.”

PHOTO BY MIKE DAVIS

Elected of­fi­cials from the state, the county and from Cen­tre­ville, as well as gen­eral cit­i­zens, break ground for the new Cir­cuit Court­house at 200 N. Com­merce St., in Cen­tre­ville, on Tues­day, Aug. 23.

PHOTO BY MIKE DAVIS

Cir­cuit Court Clerk Scott MacGlashan spoke to more than 60 peo­ple dur­ing the ground­break­ing cer­e­mony for the new Cir­cuit Court­house in Cen­tre­ville on Tues­day, Aug. 23.

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