By Eric Althoff
LANCASTER, Pa. — Officials in Lancaster County had been hoping to consolidate the district attorney’s office in a space that would also leave room for future expansion at the courthouse; however, the county solicitor is insisting on hiring outside legal counsel to first ensure that the $19 million proposed expansion is entirely within legal bounds, according to LancasterOnline.com.
The online report said that some of the necessary upgrades to the courthouse include moving the district attorney’s office from one floor and expanding it to two others, as well as creating a new courtroom for orphans court on another floor entirely. Three new judges’ chambers and a judicial and conference room are also needed.
The local firm of Kegel, Kelin, Almy & Lord will be reviewing the expansion documents, according to the report. The documents were drawn up some time ago, and county officials believe it will be beneficial to the project to have outside counsel undertake such a review. County solicitor Christina Hausner was quoted by LancasterOnline as saying it is far from uncommon for a civic entity such as Lancaster County to retain outside counsel to review these kinds of documents on judicial expansion projects.
Howard Kelin, a principal with Kegel, Kelin, Almy & Lord, confirmed to Correctional News his firm’s involvement with the project but said he could not discuss the specifics until receiving confirmation from Lancaster County. Several attempts to follow up with Kelin were met with the same response.
LancasterOnline reported that the project bids were initially supposed to go out in October, but due to the wrangling over financing and a necessary vote, the matter has not yet been settled at the county level. Attempts to elicit comment from officials at Lancaster County on the project timeline were likewise unsuccessful.