Bar News - December 14, 2012
New Cheshire County Courthouse under Construction
One of the most eagerly awaited construction projects in the court system is under way in Keene, with the new Cheshire County Courthouse set to open in about one year.
Computer rendering of the new Cheshire County Courthouse to open in 12 months. It will consolidate all of the Keene-based courts in one building, and provide more space for all operations, replacing the cramped Cheshire County Superior Court Clerk’s office pictured below.
The three-story, 49,600-square-foot building will house all three divisions of the Circuit Court and Cheshire County Superior Court. It is being built on what is now the parking lot for the current Superior Court building on Court Street. Parking for the courthouse will be located in a ground-level garage, with the two floors above it for courtrooms and offices.
The Monadnock Economic Development Corporation is building the courthouse and will then lease the facility to the NH Judicial Branch for an annual rent that is about equal to what the courts now pay to Cheshire County and the City of Keene for the existing inadequate facilities in Keene City Hall and in the county-owned original court buildings. The historic 19th century courthouse and the 1970s-era Superior Court building will be used for county government offices once the new facility is complete.
The new courthouse includes:
- Four courtrooms – one jury courtroom and three non-jury courtrooms.
- Eight conference rooms – four on each of the two upper floors.
- One issues/mediation room on the second floor.
- One sally port and a cell block with four holding cells.
- Thirty-five parking spaces (21 under and 14 outside and adjacent to the building).
- The current plan is for the circuit court to be on the middle floor and the superior court on the top floor.
Most, if not all, of the parking spaces in the ground-level parking garage will be reserved for court staff. Per the lease, it is up to the courts to decide if they have any unused spaces that others, such as the county sheriff, can use.
Building project officials have said the project is scheduled for completion in December 2013 or January 2014.