County Judge John Thompson adresses a packed courtroom in the new judicial center prior to the official ribbon cutting.
Ribbon Cut, New Judicial Center Officially Opened, LIVINGSTON, September 21, 2011 - The Polk County Judicial Center project is complete, ribbon cut, and open for judicial business. The event kicked off at 4 pm on September 20, 2011. County Judge John Thompson presided over the ceremonial occasion by giving a speech in one of the center's large courtrooms that's was transformed from the old Ford Building across the street from the old Courthouse. Thompson poured out thanks to supporters, commissioners, and personnel who helped make the it all happen. Audience participants included a host of local elected officials, dignitaries, and citizens. Thompson pointed out that the entire facility was state of the art and that the Polk County Judicial Center was as good as any judicial center in the country. Additionally, Thompson stated that the project was fully completed and was done so under budget.
The project took several years just to launch, and once officially launched took nearly three years to complete. Two main focal points of the construction of the judicial center was to relieve overcrowded office conditions in the old courthouse (built in 1924), and safety. On nearly a daily basis felons and other criminals were escorted into the old courthouse dangerously close to courthouse visitors, guests, and general population. With the advent of the new judicial center, criminals will be housed in holding cells in a restricted area of the judicial center and led into court completely cut off from the courthouse guests and visitors. The ceremony included several speakers. Afterwards, everyone was directed to the front of the new judicial center for the ceremonial ribbon cutting followed by self guided tours and a full open house complete with refreshments.
The county offices located in the judicial center will include:
• District Court • County Court at Law • Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 • Polk County Criminal District Attorney's Office • County Clerk's Office (Criminal Division) • District Clerk's Office
Click here for ceremony highlights.
This picture was taken in the old Ford Building. The rafters in the top of the picture are the original rafters and compliment the large courtroom.
Judge Thompson is joined by Miss Polk County, Brook Haynes, supporters, and Chamber of Commerce Officers in the official ribbon cutting.
The center of the judicial center features a state of the art security console and a view directly above of the second floor ceiling.
The view of the second floor ceiling from the security console almost resembles a capital rotunda.
Judge Stephen Phillips stands directly in front of the bench in the County Court at Law Courtroom.
A Blend of Old and New: The east end of the judical center retained the bricks from the old Mercantile building (Justice of the Peace, Precinct One Courtroom pictured).
Justice of the Peace Darrell Longino shows his area to members from the Polk County Chamber of Commerce
A hallway on the second floor of the east end of the Judicial Center (note old brick work restored to original beauty).
The old structure combined with the new construction lends a contemporary look to the new judicial center.
The center features a general break area for courthouse guests.
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