CHESHIRE COUNTY COURTHOUSE
The state has selected Monadnock Economic Development Corporation to proceed to the next step in the lease approval process to design and construct a new building in downtown Keene that will be leased by the state and be the new home for the Cheshire courts. It is expected, pending approval by the governor and Council, that groundbreaking at the site could take place later this year, weather permitting, or in the early Spring of next year.
The new courthouse will house all four divisions of the trial court in Cheshire County: Superior, Probate, District and Family. Clerical and courtroom space will be shared on the second and third floors.
Hillsborough North Superior Court: All the asbestos abatement and gutting of the interior of the structure is completed. Interior renovation began on July 12. As of right now, the project is projected for completion in July 2011.
The first phase of the renovation work is outside around Barrister Lane and Veterans Memorial Park. Fencing and granite curbing have been removed and some trees have been relocated. Work on carving out the sally port for prisoner entry into the courthouse should begin in a few weeks. Meanwhile workers will be removing heavy granite panels - 4 x 10 feet and five inches thick-- from the front and back of the building which will be used to form the front plaza of the courthouse on Chestnut Street. The remaining granite panels will stay in place as part of the newly redesigned facade of the courthouse (new glass facades in the front and back of the building required removal of some of the granite panels).
Reuse of the granite panels is part of an effort by the state and the architects, Lavelle Brensinger, to achieve gold LEEDS (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) status as a cost saving and energy efficient "green" building certified by the non-profit US Green Building Council. According to Steve Lorentzen, approximately 95 percent of the non-contaminated debris in the old Hill N courthouse, including metal and courtroom benches, was recycled or "repurposed" for other uses.
MILFORD DISTRICT COURT
The Milford District Court will remain in its current location at least until December 2010. After considerable discussion and debate, the town of Milford has paid the lease money owed by the state and will collect pro-rated reimbursement from other towns that use the Milford Court including Brookline, Wilton, Mont Vernon, Lyndeborough and Mason. Amherst, which also uses the Milford Court, has declined to help pay for the lease.
During recent budget discussions, the legislature had directed that the Judicial Branch keep the Milford court open, but did not provide any funds to cover the lease payments for that court or for leased facilities in Colebrook, Keene or Claremont. Officials in Colebrook, Keene and Claremont agreed to waive lease payments through June 30, 2011; the court in Milford however is leased from a private owner.