Officials Approve Pa. Courthouse Project

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Construction could begin later this year on a $2 million renovation project on court facilities in downtown Chambersburg.
After rejecting a $58.4 million plan last year for a new judicial center, the Franklin County Commissioners recently said they want to begin safety and space renovations on the existing courthouse buildings.
Last year’s budget surplus will be used to fund the project.
The commissioners agreed their contracted architectural firm, Noelker & Hull Associates, should prepare documents for construction contractors to use when bidding on the project, which will include civil engineering for a sally port entrance for prisoners and engineering for electrical and plumbing updates.
The old courthouse, the courthouse annex building and an old fire hall will be part of the renovation. Several old buildings in the vicinity will be demolished to make way for parking space.
Routine proceedings, such as divorce hearings, will be moved to the courthouse annex to make room for a fifth judge added in 2009. Those proceedings currently take place in the main courthouse.
The commissioners say they received negative feedback when discussing building a new judicial center last year, but today the comments are mostly positive. Some commissioners said they believe the negative comments they have heard recently are politically motivated due to an upcoming election.
The renovations and additions will be done in phases and are scheduled for completion in mid-2012.