Demolition of Delaware’s former Elks Lodge on North Sandusky Street is set to begin next month, kicking off the beginning of a project to construct a new, 62,295 square-foot judicial facility.
Construction of the new facility – likely to house the Delaware County Common Pleas Court, the Delaware County Clerk of Courts office, Adult Court Services and Adult Probation Authority – could begin as soon as November.
“That will really signal the start of the project,” county Administrator Tim Hansley said of the demolition of the historic building.
The $32 million project could lead to some parking headaches in the downtown area. Nearby parking lots will be used to house construction equipment during the project, taking up parking spaces that are already at a premium.
“We will be tremendously impacting our available parking,” said Hansley, adding the county is looking into alternatives to ease the burden during construction.
The project, once completed, will also include the addition of a parking deck at the rear of the building.
Many of the aesthetic changes made by architects Silling Associates were done at the request of the city of Delaware’s Historic Planning Commission, which last year opposed the demolition of the former Elks Lodge.
“I think we ended up with a building that’s going to fit into the community,” said Hansley.
The building will also address the concerns of some court officials, who have said the configuration of the current courthouse often puts jurors, defendants, victims and families in close proximity outside of the courtroom.
The new building is just one portion of a $52.6 million facilities master plan designed to alleviate overcrowding and inefficiencies.
Delaware County’s historic courthouse is also set for a major upgrade, including $8.6 million in renovations and $6.7 million in additions. The renovations and additions will bring the total size of the building to 56,300 square feet. It will house the juvenile and probate courts, along with child support services.
The plan also calls for construction of a three-story, 125-space parking deck on Franklin Street, $2.1 million in renovations to the Hayes Building and a $2.5 million storage facility at the Delaware County Jail.
Construction of the new judicial facility is expected to be completed in April 2017.
“We’re going to get a building that we can all be extremely proud of,” said Commissioner Gary Merrell.