SPOKANE, Wash. -- Construction on the Spokane county courthouse is slated to begin in a matter of weeks.
County commissioners approved a $835,000 plan to remodel the building Tuesday.
The building is 120 years old and, according to many residents who have ventured inside, very difficult to navigate.
“If people have stuff to do and pay their ticket on time, then it should be easier to navigate around,” said Preston Blea, a courthouse visitor. “It should be more organized, but I guess they’re making changes.”
Under the approved renovation plans, the empty part of the first floor will be upgraded and the treasurer’s office will move in. That will put the customer service-related offices in one location on the first floor.
“You can come in, ask a person at the front desk…they’ll direct you to the right area or simply sit down with one customer service agent and get things done,” explained Ron Oscarson, the facility director.
When the renovations are finished, most of the serious court cases will remain on the second floor.
City officials said better customer service is the goal behind the remodel effort. Courthouse workers said the renovations are needed because over the years, the many changes to the building have destabilized the building’s structure.
“You can see how they punched holes right through the floor,” said one worker on Tuesday. “They smashed part of this wall for these pipes. It caused structural issues.”
Remodeling means fixing some problems that have lasted for decades.
"If they didn't like something, they'd knock it down… and if it caused problems, they would worry about it later,” said one worker.
Work on the remodel is scheduled to be completed by June.
(© 2016 KREM)