South Valley leaders hold ribbon cutting ceremony for new courthouse

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South Valley leaders gathered in Kings County Tuesday for a celebration of a brand new courthouse. (KFSN)

South Valley leaders gathered in Kings County Tuesday for a celebration of a brand new courthouse. The $100-million project is set to open next week.

Kings County officials along with several Central Valley judges cut the ribbon in a special ceremony celebrating the completion of the new Kings County courthouse. The state of the art facility features natural light in the hallways, and every courtroom was built using energy efficient materials and provides plenty of space and new security features. "It's just a tremendous access point for everybody, for justice in one place in Kings County. The security is unparallel as far as I'm concerned, this is tremendous, tremendous, benefit for Kings County," said Hon. Steve Barnes, Kings County judge.

The $100-million dollar project, paid for with state funds, actually came in under budget. It took two years to build. Kings County Sheriff Dave Robinson said the new courthouse increase security for inmates and court employees. "In the new structure, some of the holding cells we have a capacity to hold 22 inmates. In the old holding cells, we maybe had a capacity for 3 or 4."

The added cells also mean deputies are able to safely separate rival gang members, sex offenders, and juveniles. The new facility also provides increased security when it comes to access points. There's only one entrance as opposed to the old courthouse which is separated into several buildings. "When we do have an incident we're going to be able to respond to one location versus multiple courtrooms," said Robinson.

As for the old buildings, plans are in the works to renovate them into county offices. "We're looking at moving some of the facilities across Lacey Boulevard back over to the campus. That would include the Health Department. Behavioral Health Office would go into one of the other court buildings," said Rebecca Campbell, Interim Asst. Cao.

There's also room to grow here, space was carved out to add two more courtrooms in the future.

Officials will be taking the upcoming four day weekend to move into the new courthouse.
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