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Traffic patterns on Government Center/Justice Center campus will significantly change

The work to expand the Catawba County Justice and Public Safety Center campus will enter into an important new phase at the start of 2015. As work begins to expand the Justice Center farther east toward Highway 321 Business in Newton, the access road that currently runs between the Justice Center and Government Center will be closed beginning on January 5, 2015. The existing bus stop in front of the Justice Center will be relocated to the side of the Sheriff’s Office on January 2, 2015.

Once the access road is closed, citizens wishing to visit the Justice Center or Sheriff’s Office will need to enter the campus from Highway 321 over the next two years while the project continues because they will no longer be able to reach the Justice Center from Radio Station Road. Citizens wishing to visit the Government Center or Jail and Magistrate’s Office will need to enter the campus from Radio Station Road.

“Final work on a new parking deck that will serve the complex is being done in December,” said Rodney Miller, Catawba County Finance Director who also serves as the County’s Facilities Manager. “The new deck has a table top design with about 260 parking spaces. Lighted sidewalks and painted crosswalks will be used to walk from the parking deck to the Government Center or through the existing parking lot to enter the Justice Center. A new entrance to the Justice Center around the corner of the building toward the Sheriff’s Office, south of the previous entrance, has been completed and will also be in use for the next two years until the entire project is completed”

On October 21, 2013, the Catawba County Board of Commissioners awarded base bids for the Justice Center/Public Safety Center expansion to Hickory Construction Company. A set of additional alternates was awarded to Hickory Construction on November 18, 2013, with the bid awards totaling $24,562,600.

The expansion will result in three new courtrooms and space for court support functions; a new 911 Communications Center with ten consoles; a new Emergency Operations Center; expanded Clerk of Court space; offices for Emergency Services, District Attorney and Community Corrections; and the creation of “shell space” that can be used for any necessary future expansion to save costs should further expansion of the building be needed.

“The Catawba County Justice Center is more than thirty-five years old,” Miller said “Since its opening, there have been only minor interior renovations and one expansion to the building, namely the jail expansion in 2005. Courtroom space is no longer adequate to accommodate the growing number of caseloads. A new 911 Communications Center is needed due to inadequate space for equipment, lack of electrical power and limited options for remodeling. The County’s Emergency Operations Center is inadequate when activated for emergency situations. The County was cited by FEMA in September 2006 for inadequate space at the Emergency Operations Center.”

Funding for the project is coming from revenues from a ¼ cent sales tax increase approved by voters in 2007. These funds, along with 911 funds, have been accumulating since 2007 to be used towards the project.

For more information about the expansion of the Justice Center/Government Center or the change in the campus traffic pattern, you may contact the Catawba County Public Information at 828-465-8464 or