“The Delaware County Courthouse is now open for business, officially.”
That was the proclamation made by County Commissioner Gary Merrell at the conclusion of a flag-raising ceremony Monday morning at the entrance of the new facility located at 110 N. Sandusky St. in Delaware. Employees moved into the $39.2 million structure over the weekend. The building houses the Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Court, and Clerk of Courts as well as offices for probation officers and public defenders.
Stepping off the elevator onto the fifth level of the building, visitors are greeted by what several county officials are calling the best view in downtown Delaware. The highlight of that section of the building, which faces north and east, is a wall of windows that allows natural light to pour into the facility.
“Part of the whole design of the building was the psychology of natural light and how calming it can be,” said Communications Manager Jane Hawes. “The idea behind this is that people are here, usually for reasons that are going to stress them out, so we’re looking for ways to try to keep it calm. It’s a little bit soothing. The jury deliberation rooms on the other side, facing Sandusky (Street), are the same way, with a beautiful view.”
Hawes said conference rooms for attorneys and waiting rooms for witnesses that are adjacent to each courtroom were included in the new building.
Facilities Director Jon Melvin, who was given the privilege of raising the United States flag during Monday’s ceremony, said he is especially proud of the millwork that is included in the new courthouse.
“All the millwork and (in the building) was done by Benchmark (Woodworks Co.) here in the city, over on Curtis Street,” Melvin said. “They do a fantastic job. It’s great to use a really local company.”
Hawes said a public open house to celebrate the opening of the new courthouse is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 3 from 2 to 4 p.m.
Melvin said the old Delaware County Courthouse, located at the corner of North Sandusky Street and Central Avenue, will be renovated to house the county commissioners’ office, human resources department, economic development department, and Veterans Service Commission. He said seeing that building empty last Friday was strange.
“It was sad, but there’s a future,” he said. “With moving other county offices in there, we’ll be able to open it up; we’ll open the front doors (facing Sandusky Street) back up. It’ll go back to having that whole grandeur that it had, even though it won’t be serving as a courthouse.”
Melvin said the renovation plan for the old courthouse includes installation of a new elevator, upgrading mechanical elements, and a great deal of interior work. He said the estimated completion date for the project is early in 2019.