HOME PAGE: News - July 21, 2015




Renovations Begin at Lamoille County Court House

    by Kayla Friedrich

    Built in 1912, the Lamoille County Courthouse is in dire need of modernization, and since the turn of the 21st century, Lamoille County has been pushing for some major upgrades to the Hyde Park building.

President of ECI Pierre LeBlanc, Michael Obuchowski, commissioner of VT Dept. of Buildings and General Services (BGS), Senator Rich Westman, Speaker of the House Representative Shap Smith, Governor Peter Shumlin, Side Judge Karen Bradley, Associate Judge of the Supreme Court John Dooley, Rep. Linda Martin, and Tricia Harper, project manager for BGS. don hard hats, pick up shovels, and move a little dirt to signify the beginning of the much awaited Lamoille County Court House renovation project.
- Friedrich photo


    After over a decade of lobbying, the state has provided the money to allow for those changes to happen.
    “I’ve got to say, we would not be here without Shap Smith, Linda Martin, and Rich Westman,” said Governor Peter Shumlin at the ground-breaking ceremony on Tuesday, July 14, 2015. “They were like dogs on a bone with this one.”
    Shumlin says these renovations will bring this courthouse, justice, and this community into the 21st century. The project will almost double the space in the building.  Although it won't increase any courtroom space, it will relieve overcrowding, improve security, and address ADA requirements, making it more handicapped accessible. It will also add about 8000 sq. ft. of office space to the building to put staff closer together and improve functionality. It will also add a holding cell.
    Engleberth Construction Inc. (ECI) started the work a month ago, with the project’s estimated cost at $9 million, but the actual cost is suspected to be much lower than that. ECI submitted a $6.7 million bid for the job, and $1 million from a previous appropriation, and other state and local sources will increase the $5.2 million in state money.
    “We try to hire as many local crews as we can,” said Shumlin, “and next May we’ll be here to cut the ribbon.”
    On this project, there are 32 Vermont subcontractors and vendors, and 150 of ECI’s workers will be working through the site and providing help.
    Once the money was approved, the side judges, prosecutors, and court staff had to pick up everything, and move to a temporary location at the old Plaza Hotel in Morrisville, which was renovated to accommodate their yearlong stay.
    Assistant Judge of Lamoille County Court Karen Bradley said to Court Administrator Kathleen Hobart, “you packed up 100 years of files, and got us situated in a space that works.”
    Tuesday was a day for state representatives, and everyone who pushed for these renovations to speak on the project, and thank everyone who made it happen, and for Shumlin, Bradley, Representative Shap Smith, Senator Rich Westman, Associate Judge of the Supreme Court John Dooley, Rep. Linda Martin, Michael Obuchowski, and President of ECI Pierre LeBlanc to put on hard hats, pick up shovels, and move a little dirt to signify the beginning of the much awaited project.
    Dooley says the Supreme Court first identified this project back in 2000, and it became a high priority of theirs in 2006.
    “$8 million is a very large chunk of what the state appropriates in any given year for a capital project, and so being able to do this is not a surprise. It took a number of years to develop the resources, plans, and all of that,” said Dooley. “And it involved a lot of persistence over time to get where we are.”
    Dooley believes that the main purpose of the renovations to the courthouse is to modernize the building to address security concerns and help the staff move cases through the system faster, but also to address needs of the jurors. In the current building, jurors don’t have adequate space to assemble, and sometimes find themselves in the same space as the litigant. According to Dooley, the court system doesn’t always treat jurors right, but these renovations will address some of those issues.
    “I’d like to say this is truly a collaborative project for all of us,” said Bradley, “and I’d like to thank everyone who has worked so hard to make this a reality. When I started 9 years ago with David Williams, we started looking at plans to expand the courthouse, and every year asked for money to get those plans implemented. Finally, through hard work, and David’s tenacity… we are able to do it. On behalf of the county, I thank all of you for making this happen.”



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