County gets 'surprise' money for courthouse improvements

June 17, 2005|by TARA REILLY

Washington County received word that "surprise" money from the state is on the way for security improvements at the Washington County Courthouse.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook announced during a meeting Tuesday that the county will receive $250,000 toward the cost of adding an elevator to the courthouse for transporting prisoners.

The elevator will be used to keep prisoners out of courthouse hallways and away from employees and the public. It would carry prisoners from the courthouse annex basement to a holding cell area.

"So, that was a very nice surprise," Snook said Tuesday of the money. "That might not be the whole cost, but that'll be the bulk of it."


Snook said Thursday that he thought the cost of the elevator will be about $300,000, but that he wasn't exactly sure of the price.

County Public Works Director Gary Rohrer proposed adding the elevator to courthouse renovation plans in March, shortly after receiving letters about safety under the current plans and after a deadly shooting spree in an Atlanta courthouse.

Rohrer could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Snook said Circuit Judge Frederick C. Wright III was responsible for the county receiving the elevator funding.

Wright sent a letter to Chief Judge Robert Bell asking for money to help with the security need. Snook said Wright did not request a specific amount, which is why the county was surprised to learn the allocation would be $250,000.

"We were very pleased to see that, and we thank the judge," Snook said Thursday.

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