It’s been a long time coming — but it’s finally coming.
“We’re moving forward,” Gwinnett County Chief Superior Court Judge Melodie Snell Conner said Tuesday.
Gwinnett officials broke ground Tuesday afternoon on the first phase of the county’s long-delayed, $75 million courthouse expansion, a project that was planned nearly a decade ago but postponed by the Great Recession.
The Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center opened in 1988 and houses courtrooms and other criminal justice operations, as well as administrative offices like the Board of Commissioners and the tax assessor. The expansion project will include adding a brand new 180,000-square-foot building with a larger jury assembly room, four additional courtrooms and room for several more to be added in the future.
When all is said and done, a brand new parking deck with about 1,500 parking spaces — nearly double the 840 spaces in the existing deck — will be available.
The first phase of the project, slated to be completed by the end of the year, will involve building part of the new parking deck. The existing deck will then be torn down to make room for crews to add on to the new deck and build the new court building.
The entire project is scheduled to be finished in 2020, officials have said.
Construction is already paid for by 2009 special-purpose local option sales tax dollars. The recession caused officials to delay the project to avoid paying new operating costs for the expanded building.
Conner, the chief superior court judge, said during Tuesday’s ceremony that she and her friends in the judiciary were very grateful that the expansion is becoming a reality.
“But I can truly say the real winners are going to be the citizens of Gwinnett County and the folks who have to come here,” Conner said.
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