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Council approves contract for city courts building
City Council approves $31.9 million courthouse contract and $38.7 million bond issue to pay for it

 The new courts building will be built at the corner of Princess Anne and Charlotte streets for $31.9 million.
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Date published: 11/9/2011


Fredericksburg City Council approved a $31.9 million contract for new courts facilities at last night's meeting.

Council members Fred Howe III and Brad Ellis voted against it.

In a presentation during a work session prior to the meeting, the details of the contract were spelled out.

City Council also approved a $38.7 million bond issue to pay for the new courthouse facilities.

Howe, Ellis and Council member Bea Paolucci voted against it.

The action was taken during a public hearing, which will be extended to the next City Council meeting on Nov. 22.

The facilities will be completed (except for renovations to the Renwick building) by February 2015, according to the schedule in the comprehensive agreement.

Council members praised the contract during the work session.

"This is a very, very carefully thought out agreement. I was impressed with it," said Vice-Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw.

Council member Kerry Devine echoed that.

"I think this is very favorable toward the city," she said. "I think we are going to get a quality product at a very competitive price."

Of the total bond issue, $35 million is dedicated to the courts project, while an additional $3.8 million is dedicated to the refinancing of 2001 general obligation bonds.

The debt service will be $1.2 million in fiscal 2013 and $2.1 million per year thereafter.

Ellis said he could not support that level of spending at this time.

The new courthouse will be at the corner of Princess Anne and Charlotte streets.

It will take the place of the existing Juvenile and Domestic Relations building, which will be demolished, along with the building at 707 Princess Anne St.

The purchase of 707 Princess Anne will cost the city a little more than $1 million.

The new courthouse will comprise 78,500 square feet, which is much bigger than the total of the three current buildings. The city currently has 52,050 square feet of courts space.

It will also have two Circuit courtrooms, two General District courtrooms, two clerks' offices, administration offices for the sheriff, secure holding cells, jury assembly rooms, judges' chambers and conference rooms.

The General District court building at 615 Princess Anne St. will be renovated to house the Juvenile and Domestic Relations court.

After the renovations are completed, there will be 17,400 square feet of space.

The first-floor offices at 601 Caroline St. will become the interim Juvenile and Domestic Relations court.

The voter registrar will move to the fifth floor, and the parking garage office will move to the second floor.

The commonwealth's attorney's office will move to the sixth floor from the privately leased space it's in now.

Robyn Sidersky: 540/374-5413
Email: rsidersky@freelancestar.com