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Gov. praises court building plan

July 15, 1999|By LAURA ERNDE

The best part about the new Washington County District Court building is its location, Gov. Parris Glendening said Thursday.

Keeping the building downtown will preserve the legal community's place in the city's core and help revitalize the area, ...(Front Page) Glendening said at a ceremonial groundbreaking at the site where the new building will go up at 36 W. Antietam St.

"If government agencies do not have confidence in Hagerstown, than who is going to?" Glendening said.

About 100 people, including Washington County District Court employees, state employees and elected officials celebrated the start of the $3.9 million construction. The building is expected to be ready for occupancy in the fall of 2000.

"Let this indeed be one of the jewels of Hagerstown," Glendening said.

Waynesboro Construction Co., with headquarters in Waynesboro, Pa., won the contract to build the two-story, 27,000-square-foot District Court building. More than 100 jobs will be created by the construction, Glendening said.

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Elected officials recounted Thursday how the original proposal was for the new District Court building to be built on Wesel Boulevard, outside of downtown.

Glendening said he thought that was a "terrible idea" and Hagerstown and Washington County leaders agreed.

Everyone worked together to have the building built downtown, they said.

"These things don't just happen. They take work, energy, vision, leadership and dollars," said Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington.

The new building will be the "cornerstone" for Hagerstown's arts and entertainment district in the southwest quadrant of downtown, said Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II.

The county government has plans to renovate and use that space for county offices, said Washington County Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook.

Eventually, the building housing Washington County Circuit Court will be renovated to make space for a new judge.

The new district court will have two courtrooms, judges chambers, court commissioners offices, clerical space, state's attorney's offices and public defender offices.

The state purchased land for the building from Vincent Groh in December 1997 for $390,000. The former four-story Brandt Cabinet warehouse there was torn down.

The new building will help the court keep up with technological changes and will be within walking distance of Washington County Circuit Court, local banks and lawyers' offices, said Washington County District Judge Ralph H. France II.

District Court has been at 35 W. Washington St. since 1976, he said.

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