It is high, wide and handsome, times two.

Best of all, it’s all paid for.

After nearly 30 months’ absence, Cleveland County departments and the courts are poised to move back into the County Office Building during the last week in September.

Two stories were added to the office building and the first two floors were extensively renovated. That, and a thorough renovation of the county courthouse next door will bring the county complex construction tab to about $9.4 million.

The county has been putting money aside for more than a decade to pay for the project. State court funds provided about $2 million of the construction cost. Consequently, no increase in taxes or bond issue will be required to pay Nashert Construction Co. for its work.

“This will give the county court system the space needed to provide adequate and efficient services to our citizens for the next 20 years,” District Judge William Hetherington said in an interview two years ago. The renovation provides space for more courtrooms and the support facilities for court reporters, juries and staff. It also increases the court clerk’s space, something Hetherington said has been needed since 1982.

Renovation work is continuing on the adjacent county courthouse, which has remained occupied by courts and the court clerk’s office. The courthouse renovation is expected to be completed after the first of the year.

During the office building construction period the county clerk, county treasurer and county assessor’s offices were temporarily relocated to the former health department building at 641 E. Robinson St.

The county commissioners, purchasing and safety director’s officers moved to 605 E. Robinson St. in the County Fairgrounds Building.

The district attorney’s office and the election board moved to the BancOne Building across Comanche Street from the courthouse. The county purchased the BancOne Building three years ago. The election board will be the only county department to remain in the BancOne Building once the move back to the county office building is completed. The expanded county office building awaits only final touches and installation of telephones. Space for each department has been carefully allocated and planned.

The new fourth floor of the building will contain two large courtrooms and two smaller ones, along with offices and conference rooms for judges, juries, attorneys and clients.

The entire third floor will be occupied by the district attorney’s offices.

The second floor will house the county commissioners’ offices and meeting rooms, while the ground floor will accommodate the county assessor’s and county treasurer’s offices.

The office building has new elevators, one set of them running through a “connecting link” to aligning the varying floor elevations of the office building and courthouse. The main public entrance to the office building, on the west side, is equipped with metal detectors and scanners for increased security. Officials say another expansion of the county office building will probably be necessary later, in step with Cleveland County’s steady population growth.

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