STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (EYEWITNESS NEWS WBRE 28/WYOU 22) – A groundbreaking ceremony leads a multi-million dollar renovation and expansion project of a historic courthouse in the Poconos.
Built in 1890, the Monroe County Courthouse is now under construction.
Officials broke ground at the future sight of a larger, expanded facility in Stroudsburg Thursday afternoon.
“The new building is going to have separations of different participants in the justice system, so that in it of itself, that makes it extremely safe. We will have holding cells attached to courtrooms, so that the movement of prisoners doesn’t come out into the hallways like it does now,” President Judge Maggie Worthington of the 43rd Judicial District, Court of Common Pleas, Monroe County, said.
President Judge Maggie Worthington says the community has grown exponentially over the last few decades, and the size of the current court building just couldn’t keep up.
“It’s tired, It has outlived its useful lifetime. We’d be spending millions in upgrading it. But what this does is, it moves the courtrooms out of that building, and that allows us to put office spaces in there,” Monroe County Commissioner John Christy said.
Christy says the overcrowding within the courthouse and annex will be relieved with the additional space.
The estimated 75-million dollar project is set to be completed in two phases.
“60,000 square foot edition, and we renovate the old spaces, and essentially all the new courtrooms will be in this new addition, and then the rest of the services will be in the old parts. Plus we’re doing some preservative work to the old historic courthouse,” Project Executive Christopher Gehm said.
Gehm says the design process alone took two and a half years. He says the old PNC building will be demolished soon, which is the first step in this multi-year plan.
“Hopefully next week we’ll see the bank come down, following that, temporary fences will appear next week, and we’ll get started on some excavation and some concrete work and we’ll really get the thing rolling,” Gehm said.
Officials expect the first phase of the project to be completed within the next 10 months, and the entire project by 2023.