With overcrowding issues getting worse inside the Young County Courthouse, officials are doing their best to fix the problem.
The building has stood since 1932, but the county is outgrowing it.
“Every office in this courthouse is at capacity,” County Judge John Bullock said, “All of our storage is at capacity.”
They are even running out of space to put court documents, equipment, and old office furniture. It can be seen in the halls and stairwells throughout the building. Court documents are piled to the tops of rooms and are on top of filing cabinets.
“Not only is that unsightly, it’s somewhat hazardous,” he said.
This is why on July 6th, 2015 County Judge John Bullock gave county commissioners a written proposal to build a multi-purpose building at 502 Oak St.
“It’s just one half block away from the courthouse, so it’s a perfect location,” Judge Bullock said.
It’s a location that used to have the Law Enforcement and Detention Center. A few years ago Judge Bullock suggested renovating the facility, so it could be used to relieve some of the overcrowding issues. However, county commissioners voted to have it torn down. This was done in May 2014.
“We didn’t cure the problem,” he said, “We still have the problem of overcrowding.”
One way officials are working to fix the clutter of court documents is by electronically scanning and storing them. However, Judge Bullock said there are some records they can’t destroy. So, while they are trying to micromanage the bigger issue, officials know it is only a temporary fix.
“At some time they have to be addressed,” he said, “The further we kick the can down the road, the more needs there are going to be and the more cost there will be to correct that need.”
Judge Bullock said he would like to use the new facility for the probation department, the adult community supervision department, and the juvenile probation department. It would also be used as added storage space. Other departments in the courthouse would be moved within the building, so they would have more space. However, they are still in the beginning phases, so there is a lot of work that needs to be done.
“I have to have two of these commissioners support me and that issue for it to move anywhere,” he said.
However, Judge Bullock isn’t confident when getting the support from the commissioners. He said it is a difficult situation.
“Everybody has their own perspective and their priorities, so it’s hard to come to some kind of collective decision on which direction you need to go,” he said.
The facility Judge Bullock proposed would be 9,953 square feet. Initial estimates have the building costing about $1.4-million. Judge Bullock said there are a few options on how to purchase the facility, but he is unclear since they are still in the beginning phase. Officials have the option of rebidding the project, so that would change the cost of the building.
There is also no timeline on when the building could be voted on. Right now county commissioners are working on the budget, so it could be a while before this gets on the agenda.