Renovations are nearing completion at the Warren County Courthouse.
Ornate benches dating back to the old courthouse, which was constructed circa 1870, arrived at the building Tuesday after having been refurbished by inmates at South Central Correctional Facility in Licking.
“They did an awesome job,” Warren County Presiding Commissioner Arden Engelage said as he watched county maintenance workers Tom Parsons and Dave Fry unload the benches from the delivery truck.
Many of the 16 benches will be placed inside the old county commission chambers on the first floor, which has been transformed into a third courtroom complete with new carpeting, a fresh coat of paint and a new judge’s bench.
Next to the new courtroom, the former county clerk’s office will now house part of the circuit clerk’s staff, Engelage said.
Behind the courtroom and clerk’s office is an old break room that will now serve as an associate judge’s office.
In the basement, evidence will go from being stored in caged areas to a new evidence room complete with concrete block walls and a steel door, making it even more secure.
On the jail side of the courthouse, a maintenance room on the first floor is being transformed into a secure 10-man dormitory for work-release inmates. That should help eliminate some of the contraband being brought into the regular jail population and ease overcrowding, officials told The Record in an earlier article.
The renovations, which started in August, have cost the county $316,538.37 so far. The county has budgeted $431,280.23 for the project.