Moffat County Courthouse slated for $600K security upgrade | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County Courthouse slated for $600K security upgrade

The Moffat County Courthouse is in for many updates for security and handicap access.
Andy Bockelman

The original, but aging Moffat County Courthouse is getting some major security and handicap accessibility upgrades with the help of a grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.

County commissioners on Tuesday viewed the first schematics of their new courthouse entrance designed by University of Colorado students, whose work was part of Moffat County’s grant.

County officials say they’ll be back before commissioners July 23 to get final approval of the upgrades that will make the front courthouse entrance the only entrance to allow for every person to be screened as soon as they walk in the door.

A wheelchair ramp compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act will also be installed in the front along with security cameras and a new security hub to monitor every area of the courthouse in real time — all for a total cost of about $636,000.

Sheriff KC Hume was at commissioners’ Tuesday meeting to answer questions and advocate for the courthouse upgrades.

“This is a conversation we’ve been involved in since 2001, when the sheriff’s office vacated the basement of the courthouse,” Hume said Tuesday.

Hume pointed out Moffat’s courthouse is unlike the other three in the 14th Judicial District in one key way.

“We are the only courthouse of the three that does not have a single point of entry,” Hume said.

Having done some data collection on how many enter throught the security station upstairs inside the Moffat County Courthouse over the last two years, Hume showed the security changes are greatly needed.

“On average, 114,000 people pass through that security checkpoint,” Hume said before an audible gasp could be heard from those attending Tuesday morning’s meeting.

Roy Tipton, the county’s director of development services, said the county was able to find much of their matching portion of the grant — about $318,000 — from the county’s emergency sewer maintenance budget that went partially unused.

“That money would be rolled over and applied to that,” Tipton said of the county’s needed security upgrades. “Assuming we’re successful with the grant, the work would happen in 2020.”

Tipton pointed out anyone in a wheelchair attending court won’t have it easy.

“If you’re in the courtroom and you need an ADA bathroom, you’ve got to go to the basement to do it,” Tipton said.

Commissioners Ray Beck and Don Cook said the upgrades may be expensive, but they’re probably better than spending tens of millions on building a new courthouse that complies with federal and state laws.

“It’s probably money well spent,” Cook said.

“I think this is the right way to go,” Beck said.