Space needs at judicial center on docket |

Space needs at judicial center on docket

by Amy Alonzo

Current and future space needs at the undersized Douglas County Judicial Law Enforcement Center are on the docket for Thursday's county commissioners meeting.

"The facility has exceeded its anticipated design life and is over capacity in its current state," according to a memo prepared by Administrative Services Manager Debbie Beam.

The law enforcement center, located at 1038 Buckeye Road, opened in 1982. The county's population at the time was under 20,000, and the building was designed to handle 20-25 years of service, according to the memo.

The two-story building originally included an open lobby area, three waiting areas, a two-story atrium and an exercise area. All of the areas have been renovated in response to space needs.

The county's population is now around 50,000, and the building is about 35 percent undersized for current needs. Judicial services requires an additional courtroom and the district attorney's office, sheriff's administration and constable "all have urgent needs for additional space," according to the memo.

The existing facility, excluding hallways, mechanical rooms, etc., is about 35,000 square feet. Based on current square footage needs, about 54,000 square feet is needed for departments. To service a growing population, a roughly 65,000 square-foot building would be needed to serve 55,000 people.

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In 2014 Reno-based TSK Architects was hired to perform a space needs assessment for the center. Among the firm's findings were:

■ Secure circulation does not exist to separate judicial officers and staff from the public,

■ Justice partners, judicial officers and staff do not have secure access from the parking area into the courthouse,

■ Entry vestibule and lobby spaces are undersized for security screening,

■ Victims and perpetrators in the upstairs hallways cross paths without separation,

■ The district attorney's office has staff in three locations and there is no witness preparation area, and

■ Judicial benches and spectator seating in courtrooms and facilities including restrooms and drinking fountains are not Americans with Disabilities Act accessible.