PRESTON – Residents in Franklin County had a chance to see where they put their money when they voted for a $2.9 million bond to put an addition on the courthouse.

Thursday the county held an open house to show off the new part of the 80-year-old building. They added 11,400 square feet to the existing 13,500 square foot courthouse and matched the existing exterior to look like the same building.

Franklin County Commission chair Robert Swainston said Randy Henrie, a former contractor and Planning and Zoning administrator/building inspector, was the general contractor on the project. Having Henrie be the general contractor saved the county a lot of money.

”Henrie knocked it out of the park,” Swainston said. “The addition is fantastic. Every floor is ADA compliant now and the conference room where the county commissioners meet can be used for other meetings as well.”

Having an ADA compliant courtroom was one of the motivating factors for building the addition.

“The whole building is ADA compliant including the courtroom and the judge’s chambers are very nice,” he said. “They are still on the third floor but easier to get to.”

The building addition cost $3.8 million to build.

“We had some money in reserve and the residents voted on a $2.9 million bond,” Swainston said. “We also had some money from the American Rescue Plan Act we put towards the remodel.”

While Henrie was taking a break to work on the addition they enticed the former County Clerk Shauna Geddes to come out of retirement to be the county Planning and Zoning administrator.

Now that the new part is completed, the county will be moving people from the old part of the building to the new part so the older sections of the building can be remodeled. It is projected to be done sometime next year.

“We are fortunate the taxpayers did it when they did,” Swainston said. “If they would have waited until a few years later the interest rates would have killed us. They would be about 8 percent, making the remodel unaffordable.”

The Franklin County Courthouse is located at 39 W. Oneida St. in Preston.



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