By Aziza Jackson
ALAMOSA, Colo. — Alamosa County commissioners recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house for its new justice center located at 8955 Independence Way.
The county has been working to complete two major capital improvement projects: the new courthouse for the 12th Judicial District and the remodel of the county jail.
The total cost of construction for both projects is about $26.6 million. Alamosa voters approved a one-cent sales tax in 2015 to fund both projects. Additional funding was obtained through grants from the state’s Underfunded Courthouse Facility Commission and the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.
Reilly Johnson Architecture designed the new justice center and jail remodel. GH Phipps Construction Companies served as the general contractor for the justice center. The new justice center is a 42,500-square-foot building that includes five courtrooms and a separate sally port for law enforcement. The jail remodel includes a 14,585-square-foot addition and a 64-bed addition with an extensive remodel of the interior. Van Iwaarden Builders, Inc. is serving as the general contractor for the jail remodel.
According to the Alamosa News, Chief District Judge Pattie Swift said the initial courthouse completed in 1938 became inadequate and insufficient in recent years, a claim that was corroborated by a court facility study that determined almost three times more space was needed.
The courthouse was also reportedly not Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible, having no elevator between the two floors, Swift said to the Alamosa News.
“It isn’t fancy but it meets our needs now and into the future,” said Judge Swift to the Alamosa News.
Judge Swift also reportedly said the new justice center is more secure than the old 1938 facility, providing a single point of entry. The new justice center reportedly contains three full-sized courtrooms, two hearing rooms and a room that is multipurpose, which is where the grand opening ceremony was reportedly held.
A report from the Alamosa News contributed to this story.