Ground broken for new courthouse
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.”
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.
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.