New courthouse opens to public in Kings County

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The new Kings County courthouse officially opened to the public Tuesday. (KFSN)

The new Kings County courthouse officially opened to the public Tuesday.

The new four-story building is located on Kings County Road north of Lacey Boulevard in Hanford. It's just a few hundred yards away from the old campus.

It's a project 8 years in the making, and as of Tuesday, the Kings County courthouse now has a new address.

"We moved everything from our Hanford campus, which was comprised of four different buildings," said Jeffrey Lewis. "Now we have staff working in one location it has strength in numbers."

Instead of nine courtrooms in four buildings, they now have 10 in a single location. Including a large, last of its kind, circular courtroom. "That will allow us for higher publicity cases where added security is needed-- we can provide that," said Lewis.

Originally projected as a $142-million project, the 136,000 square foot building cost less than $92-million. The extra space means serving more than 600 people per day at 11 windows. There are also two on the outside for minor infractions like tickets.

It's not just the extra space that improves efficiency, it's the technology. The Que-Matic directs visitors to their window by language and case type. Though not everyone got the message, which is causing a bit of confusion on the first day of operation.

People are excited about the change. As Teresa Deleon realized, the new location isn't far from the old one. Though the new security has caused minor hiccups for those expecting to get in quickly the County said safety is top priority. "Today you can't be too secure. Our intent is just to make sure that as many people that come in are safe and don't pose a threat to anyone."

With additional funding, they hope to fill 20 long-standing vacancies brought on by the recession.
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