By Eric Norwood Jr.
PNT staff writer
The Roosevelt County Commission approved the architectural plans and cost estimates for a new Magistrate Court project on Tuesday at its bi-weekly meeting.
The new magistrate court will be constructed adjacent and connected to the current Roosevelt County Detention Center.
“We will look at some (U.S. Department of Agriculture) rural development funding and we will be hearing presentations from potential funders this month,” said County Manager Charlene Webb.
The county will be constructing the building and will lease it to the New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts, who is in charge all of the state’s magistrate court buildings. The lease payments will cover the cost of construction, according to Webb.
“The county and the AOC will get together to figure out the lease soon,” said Ted Shelton, the architect for the project.
The project will cost approximately $3.34 million. It will include a new Magistrate Court Building (10,821 square feet), plus 80 new parking spaces, and 400 feet of street development. Inside of the detention center court, a secure passageway will be constructed for transferring inmates from the detention center into the court building.
According to Webb, construction bids will go out as early as next year, as long as the funding is secured and the lease agreement is finalized.
“Hopefully, by the end of November we will have funding. Then by the end of the year, we will have the lease agreement finalized with AOC. If that happens, we will probably put the project up for bid by January or February,” said Webb.
Roosevelt County Detention Center Administrator David Casanova is supportive of the magistrate court being added on to the detention center.
“I believe it is going to have a positive impact for the operations of the facility as a whole and for the magistrate court alone,” Casanova said.
In addition to constructing the magistrate court at the detention center, there are also talks to add additional security to the detention center as well. Those plans have been tabled at recent commission meetings because of the non-budgeted costs that were deemed too high by the commissioners.
“We are exploring different options for additional perimeter security, but there shouldn’t be any affect from that with this project,” said Webb.
Casanova said he is unsure what the commission will do about adding additional perimeter security to the detention center, but will try to get a clearer idea at the new county commissioner’s meeting in November.
“We hope to have a better understanding after the next meeting,” said Casanova.