Contract awarded for Carroll courthouse

Almost $7 million OK'd for district bench facility

January 25, 2001|By Greg Garland | Greg Garland,SUN STAFF

The state Board of Public Works approved yesterday a contract for nearly $7 million to build a Carroll County District Courthouse in Westminster's historic district.

The long-planned building will be in a classical brick design with four white columns, arched dormer windows and a cupola, according to plans filed with the city. Construction is expected to begin in March and be completed in September 2002.

Julia Walsh Gouge, president of the Carroll County Board of Commissioners, said county officials "certainly are pleased" with the state's decision to fund construction of the courthouse.

"This is something that has been in the works for many years," Gouge said. "We need the extra space. Right now, things are overcrowded."

The courthouse will be built on a 1.58-acre parcel on the southeast corner of Court Street and Greenwood Avenue. Parking for employees will be at the rear of the building, along Ralph Street.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening, who sits on the three-member Board of Public Works, said the courthouse project is an excellent example of Maryland's Smart Growth initiative to prevent sprawl. Under the program, state resources are used to locate government facilities within communities that have the existing infrastructure to support them.

"This new courthouse will create new jobs in the surrounding area and revitalize downtown Westminster," Glendening said.

Gouge said the new courthouse will be part of a larger government complex that the county has been developing in recent years in Westminster's historic district, making it easier for residents to gain access to government offices and services.

The new court building will be two stories, have 41,926 square feet of space and consist of two courtrooms and related offices.

The facility will have judges' chambers, clerks' offices, and state's attorney and public defender offices.

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