A groundbreaking ceremony was held Wednesday to celebrate the start of construction of Pueblo County’s new $52 million judicial building.
The five-story, 16 courtroom building has been in the works for over a decade.
The historic groundbreaking is a moment that 10th Judicial District Chief Judge Dennis Maes has been waiting 16 years for.
“It's going to be a beautiful building that will provide access to justice and be a symbol of the rule of law that we enjoy in the United States. And at the same time it's going to put many people to work,” said The Honorable Dennis Maes.
Judge Maes says getting a new judicial building has been a need in the community since 1998. He believes the architecture of the building is beautiful and will be a real eye-catcher in the community. The design of the building has already won an award.
Project officials say the building will not only be “state-of-the-art” but the complex will also offer new services to the people of the community. Judge Maes says it will be a “better way of doing business.”
The new judicial complex will provide a jury assembly room, a place where jurors can meet instead of having to travel in and out of courtroom to find where they need to be.
An expanded first appearance center addresses the needs of people who received tickets. Judge Maes believes about 70 to 80 percent of those cases will have their ticket taken care of in the initial appearance, allowing people to go about their business.
The new facility will also have an expanded mediation room where people can get their cases mediated and settled without having to go to a trial. It’s a procedure The Honorable Dennis Maes believes will be a cheaper and more efficient way of handling things.
The Chief Judge thinks the building is something that people can be proud of for many years.
He says construction of the center will also provide a huge economic boost to the region, creating over 200 new jobs for the course of construction.
It’s also a project that tax payers don’t have to empty their wallets to pay for.
“In addition to a building that’s absolutely needed, that will provide access to justice and support the rule of law, but they will not have to pay taxes on this. It will be financed through other revenue streams,” said The Honorable Dennis Maes.
The project will be located in the heart of downtown. Project officials hope the building will attract more business to the downtown area.
When completed, the new judicial building will be five stories high. It is being built on formerly vacant land on Fourth Street, between Elizabeth and West Streets.
Previously, Pueblo County Commissioners approved the county selling $55 million in bonds to finance the building.
Construction on the complex is expected to be completed by January 2014.