AUGUSTA — The 92-slot public parking area at the Capital Judicial Center at the base of Court Street is newly graded, freshly black-topped and emblazoned with bright white stripes and blue-shaded sections indicating handicapped-accessible parking spaces.

It is due to be in use almost immediately, possibly as soon as Friday.

“I know everybody is anxious to use it,” said Philip A. Johnston, project manager for the court system.

While the 120,000-square-foot, four-story building opened for use in early March, construction of the public parking lot was delayed because an apartment building on that site had yet to be razed.

Since March, visitors to the new courthouse have used two terraced levels of numbered parking spots that are soon to be assigned to court employees, some of whom parked off site and rode shuttles to work.

Johnston said Wednesday that work is beginning on the installation of parking control gates that will control entry and exit of that staff lot.

In the meantime, some other exterior work is underway outside the new four-story structure. On Wednesday, one worker was replacing a cracked slab at the foot of the stairs which link the upper and lower terraces.

Most of the construction now has moved to the historic, granite block Kennebec County Courthouse, which is linked by a pedestrian bridge to the new courthouse.

About $57 million in bonds funded the new, four-story courthouse as well as the renovations to the second floor of the adjacent building.

“It will be completed on time and on budget,” Johnston said.

The bulk of the work in the older building is designed to allow public access to a large, ornate courtroom. That courtroom is being retrofitted to accommodate civil trials and to allow all seven justices on the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to sit together on the bench and hear oral arguments in appeals.

“Technologically speaking, it will be the equivalent of the other six courtrooms,” Johnston said. Designated as Courtroom 7, it will be accessible via two pedestrian walkways.

In conjunction with the state-funded renovations, which include installation of fire alarm and sprinkler systems throughout the older courthouse, the county is making other improvements.

Kennebec County Administrator Robert Devlin said everyone working in the district attorney’s office has been moved out of the basement, which now will be used to house files.

The county just received bids to replace the nine windows in the large courtroom with six-over-six paned windows, the style shown in old photos and lithographs of the building.

“We hope to award that very soon,” Devlin said.

Consigli Construction Co., which built the new courthouse, also was contracted to inspect the roof of the older building and make repairs to stop the frequent leaks.

“We’re talking to roofing people right now about having more permanent repairs,” Devlin said.

The county is using about $60,000 from a capital improvement fund to pay for much of the work and is keeping costs down by using county employees and inmates from the county jail next door to provide the labor, Devlin said.

All the state and county projects are slated for completion by the end of August. A public open house for the Capital Judicial Center is set for 2:30 p.m. Sept. 18.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams


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