SPOKANE, Wash. — Plans are in place to expand the Kootenai County Justice Building. But, during last week's Kootenai County Commissioner meeting it was revealed that costs might now be 40% more than expected.
The future site of the expansion is the west end of the current justice building. If the county goes through with their original design, it could cost them upwards of $35 million.
In November of 2020, the county was awarded the project for an expansion to its justice building. The original plan for the expansion was a 60,000 square foot, four floor facility that would add three new courtrooms and office space for district court employees and other county staff.
But, due to inflation and labor costs, it is estimated to cost more than $15 million more than what was originally planned.
"Supply chain issues labor issues and just the general way of the economy it's doubled, so that's concerning for the commissioners," said County Commissioner Leslie Duncan.
Duncan says the expansion is needed now more than ever.
"Kootenai County's been growing at a pretty steady pace, and we outgrew our court services division. So, we've gotten new judges, and we really haven't had a place to put them we've hired a bunch of new court clerks," she said.
Kootenai County commissioners only set aside $24 million for the project last year. During last week's meeting, the commissioners were presented with two other lower cost designs. One of the design options would cost $29 million and another would cost $24 million.
"It's really not for 2, 5 years, 10 years in the future," Duncan said. "When we open the building it will be full just with the people we have now."
Duncan says cheaper options are definitely something they will have to consider. Once a design is approved, the plan is to start construction this fall. It will take around 18 months.
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