Greene County Commission shares county campus facility renovation plans

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (Edited News Release/KY3) – The Greene County Commission released its campus renovation plan on Friday, and new courtroom space is an important part of changes to what have to do with the former prison space.

The campus plan is a proposal for renovations to existing facilities and possible future expansions to the Greene County Courthouses facility, the former Sheriff’s Office and Jail, the Administration Building, and the historic Courthouse. The plan is not yet finalized and is subject to change. Moreover, the commission did not allocate any taxpayer money to the projects.

The campus renovations will cost approximately $19 million. Bonds issued from the 2017 county sales tax will pay for the renovations. N-FORM Architecture, the design studio selected to write a space and facility needs study, met with all Greene County officials and department heads in 2021 to review their needs, available space, and county budget.

The campus plan has five main objectives: to pave the parking lot west of the historic N Boonville Courthouse, to meet the needs of office holders, to use space efficiently, to consolidate office space on campus, and to meet the budget of the county.

Construction of the new Greene County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO) and Jail was completed in April, relocating all GCSO staff to one building and opening up space in five existing county facilities.

The campus plan proposes to renovate the Greene County Judicial Center, where the courts are now located, and the Justice Center, which housed the former Greene County Jail.

The new plan calls for the addition of more courtroom space in the two buildings, which are side by side on Boonville Avenue. The plan would also build a new secure lobby that would provide a single entrance to the two facilities.

The first floor of the old county jail would become the home of juvenile offices, including courtrooms and the Greene County Youth Academy.

“So it’s all about bringing them together under one roof and giving them a safe location,” said Greene County 1st District Commissioner Rusty MacLachlan. “It makes it easier for them to get their clients and families in and out of the facility.”

The second level of the old county jail would also have courtrooms added (to be used as the judges see fit) and there will also be a juvenile detention area.

Meanwhile, an old administrative building next to the electoral center that housed offices for minors will be demolished.

“This building has serious structural issues,” said Greene County Presiding Commissioner Bob Dixon. “We had considerable flooding in the basement, so the building would be replaced by a parking lot.”

This additional parking space will be required as a current parking lot in front of the Judicial Center will be replaced by the new security hall. But there will also be more parking spaces available in front of the court and prison buildings, as the former temporary prisons there are being removed.

Several county offices will change location, including the commission office itself. Along with Public Administration and the Solicitors Office, the Commissioners’ Home for several years has been at Cox North Medical Tower. And while the district attorney’s office will remain there, the commissioners and administrator are moving to the historic old courthouse.

“This will provide a savings in rent each year of $107,000,” Greene County 2nd District Commissioner John C Russell said. “Even better, the commission will be more accessible to the public and other members of the Greene County team.”

The commissioners hope the project will be completed within the next few years and said many different scenarios have been considered.

“We had suggestions ranging from raising the building (the old prison) to using it for different purposes,” Dixon said. “There was a time when the county explored building a much larger facility just north of the courthouse facility, but we don’t have the budget to do that at this time.”

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Aurora J. William