Courts back in session under 1 roof in Houlton

By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff
Posted April 15, 2009, at 8:13 p.m.

HOULTON, Maine — The halls of justice will be brighter, more modern and more easily accessible now that a nearly yearlong renovation project at the Aroostook County Superior Court building here has been completed.

Aroostook County officials announced Monday that a dedication ceremony to reopen the court building officially will begin at 11 a.m. Friday.

The ceremony, which will be held at the newly refurbished courthouse, will mark the end of a $2.5 million renovation project that has put the offices of Houlton District Court and the Superior Court under one roof.

Construction began after the Legislature agreed last year to move forward with the project.

The second and third floors of the Superior Court have undergone extensive renovation. A second courtroom has been created and a clerk’s office now is located on the second floor. The third floor houses another clerk’s office, the jury deliberation room and a law library. The upgraded library features more computer terminals and legal research software.

The building also features a more secure judge’s chamber, two elevators and a new heating and airflow system.

Features in the building are now compliant with standards set forth by the federal Americans With Disabilities Act.

The Superior Court in Houlton has been hearing cases at the Caribou Superior Court building during the construction period.

County commissioners began talking about consolidating the two buildings about three years ago after a pipe burst in the District Court building and forced the staff to work out of Superior Court. The ease with which the clerks made the transition prompted the county to consider a permanent consolidation project.

The construction work was finished on time and on budget, commissioners were told last week.

Friday’s ceremony is expected to draw Maine Chief Justice Leigh I. Saufley, other court officials and county and municipal officials.

The public is welcome to attend.

http://bangordailynews.com/2009/04/15/news/courts-back-in-session-under-1-roof-in-houlton/ printed on September 17, 2014