If Pulaski County keeps its current courthouse, there’s a chance that it might not actually house any court facilities in the future.
Commissioner Jerry Locke renewed calls to move Circuit Court to the Justice Center during last week’s joint council and commissioners meeting. He pointed out that would resolve a few issues, including courtroom security and transporting inmates across the street.
But Council Member Kathi Thompson had some concerns with making the move without a larger plan. “If we do that, take that one piece out, we’re doing exactly what we’ve done every single time,” she said. “We’re going to try to solve one problem without taking the entire situation into consideration.”
“I understand that,” Locke replied. “We’ve been working on it over two years, trying to get something done. We’re not kicking the can down the road, like we’re getting accused of. But I still think, for security reasons, both courts should be at the Justice Center.”
The idea has come up a few times over the past year-and-a-half. Those discussions eventually led the county to hire Rowland Design to create a plan to move most of the courthouse offices into an expanded Justice Center.
During last week’s meeting, Community Development Commission Executive Director Nathan Origer questioned whether there would be enough room to move Circuit Court to the Justice Center as it is, without relocating a number of other offices. “If you’re kicking this idea around the table, that’s the first thing that needs to be known because if it’s not, then you cannot separate that move from some sort of construction,” he said.
Council President Jay Sullivan thought there would be enough room in the basement, but Thompson pointed out that the Sheriff’s Department has other plans for the space.
Additionally, it was announced during last week’s joint session that the county had received another courthouse study proposal from architectural firm RQAW. But with Indiana Landmarks currently paying Rowland to come up with an updated plan that would preserve the courthouse, county officials opted not to take any action on RQAW’s proposal.