City com­mences court con­struc­tion

The Weekly Vista - - Front Page - KEITH BRYANT

Ren­o­va­tion for a court fa­cil­ity in Bella Vista is un­der way.

The ren­o­va­tions of the court fa­cil­ity at 612 W. Lan­cashire Blvd., ap­proved by the City Coun­cil in June, were bid at $104,405, with a 10 per­cent con­tin­gency, bring­ing the project’s bud­get to $114,895.

Po­lice Chief James Graves was as­signed as project man­ager for th­ese ren­o­va­tions be­cause of se­cu­rity con­cerns, he said. Con­struc­tion is stay­ing on sched­ule. He ex­pects the alarm sys­tem to be in­stalled this week, he said, be­fore walls

are fin­ished.

“It is go­ing to be a fully func­tional court,” he said.

Be­cause the space is un­der lease, he said, some of the stuff go­ing into it is de­signed to be mov­able in case the city de­cides to move the court­room else­where once the lease is up, though the city may also choose to re­new the lease.

It’s im­por­tant for his depart­ment to be in­volved in the process, he said, and po­lice in­put has gone into the over­all lay­out, as has in­put from the city’s le­gal staff.

“We come into play be­cause it af­fects a lot of our op­er­a­tions,” Graves said. “It’s kind of a multi-lay­ered ef­fort.”

Hav­ing this fa­cil­ity in town, he said, should re­duce tran­sit times for res­i­dents and po­lice alike and, on court day, en­sure of­fi­cers are in the city and avail­able if the depart­ment re­ceives a high-pri­or­ity call. On the whole, he said, court ser­vice should be im­proved for Bella Vis­tans.

“I think it’ll be a pretty big deal,” Graves said. “It’s go­ing to help the city, the Po­lice Depart­ment and the cit­i­zens.”

Dustin Bart­ley, su­per­in­ten­dent with Con­struc­tion Ser­vices Group Mar­ion Com­pany, said his crew is work­ing on fram­ing ev­ery­thing up and wiring the new fa­cil­ity. The por­tion of the court fa­cil­ity clos­est to the en­trance, he said, is go­ing to be mostly new con­struc­tion, though the of­fices

lin­ing the back wall were left alone for the most part.

In ad­di­tion to new walls and wiring, he said, the fa­cil­ity is go­ing to get fresh paint, new ceil­ings and new car­pet.

The plan, he said, is to fin­ish mid-Septem­ber.

“It’ll be a real court­room,” he said.

Once the court is fin­ished, Graves said, the court clerk will be­gin work­ing.

Bella Vista’s Hu­man Re­sources man­ager Melissa Cruise, said a court clerk has been hired and is slated to be­gin work­ing Sept. 11.

Keith Bryant/The Weekly Vista

The new court fa­cil­ity in Bella Vista is cur­rently un­der con­struc­tion. The empty space will be the seat­ing area and the wooden base near the back wall is for the judge’s bench.

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