Second family court courtroom is now in session

Claud Porter, Daviess County Attorney

Last week, on the same day court officials swore in new Daviess Circuit Judge Lisa Payne Jones, a second beginning was inaugurated at the Morton Holbrook Judicial Center in downtown Owensboro.

Officials cut the ribbon on county's second Family Court courtroom Nov. 26. The judicial center now has permanent courtrooms for Family Judge Julie Hawes Gordon and for Judge John McCarty. He was appointed to also handle family cases in Daviess County while still spending some time as a dstrict judge in Hancock County.

"We had the ribbon-cutting (last) Tuesday," county attorney Claud Porter said. "Everybody is now operating in that courtroom."

In April, Lanham Bros. General Contractors began work on the second Family Court courtroom on the judicial center's third floor. The company was awarded the contract after submitting the low bid on the project. The new courtroom was built in the former law library and is the same size as the existing Family Court courtroom.

The county owns the judicial center and rents it to the Administrative Office of the Courts. The county pays for renovations at the judicial center but will be reimbursed by AOC if state court officials have agreed to the project.

Jordon Johnson, purchasing agent for Daviess Fiscal Court, said AOC had a budget of $663,290 for the new courtroom. The final cost of the work, including changes made during construction, was $652,350, Johnson said. The AOC will reimburse the county for the project.

"The only remaining work is a small change order" for painting in some areas, Johnson said.

In addition to constructing the courtroom, crews created offices for McCarty. Officials with Drug Court were moved into a new space in the Robert Kirtley Judicial Annex, which is also complete.

Porter said there is no other work currently scheduled for the judicial center.

Johnson said renovations are being considered in the Circuit Clerk's offices but said those plans are in the early stages. Plans for those renovations will be drawn up and submitted to AOC for their consideration, Johnson said.

James Mayse, 270-691-7303, jmayse@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse

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