Historic Rowell Building now home to Fresno County District Attorney's Office

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Just across the street from the courthouse, you can find new life in a century-old building.

Originally constructed in 1912, the historic Rowell Building is now home to the Fresno County District Attorney's Office.

Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp says, "What this building means to us is that the county believes in us and that they have invested in us because the place that we were in before we were just crammed."

The newly-renovated building has more than 270 workspaces ranging from offices to cubicles, six conference rooms and a wellness center equipped with a gym.

In addition to a two-level break room a rooftop space with panoramic views of downtown, including one of the six buildings they were spread across.

A sharp contrast from the tight spaces they used to occupy.

"Fresno County has some of the highest caseloads and the lowest salaries of any prosecutors office in the state," said Smittcamp.

More space means the ability to provide comfortable settings for victims of crime, including the family justice room.

Smittcamp adds, "We didn't even have space for our staff, let alone to have a comfortable space for our victims."

Nico is one of two therapy dogs, the newest additions to the D-A's office. They accompany children when meeting their investigators, prosecutors and testifying in court.

"It's amazing to see the difference in children when they have the opportunity to engage with a comfort dog because you're asking these children to relive sometimes the worst thing that's ever happened to them and it's a difficult process," Smittcamp said. "Probably the most important thing that comes out of this building is our ability to serve the community in a more productive, more professional and effective manner."
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