Courthouse Annex nears completion Sheriff Welsh: 'It's going to be a beautiful building, and secure'
Architect's rendering from corner of Broad and West High Street
By Ginny Privitar MILFORD — After years of controversy involving concerns about costs and historical preservation, the Pike County Courthouse addition is finally nearing completion. Move-in is expected in April or May. "I was just in there yesterday, and they're painting and spackling, putting on the finishing touches," said Pike County Commissioner Matt Osterberg last week. Carpet is now being installed, starting on the third floor and moving down to the basement. Furniture will be brought in over the next few weeks, he said. The top floor will house the courts, and the middle floor will house probation. The sheriff's office will move into the basement level. "The building contract specifies June of 2018 as completion date," Osterberg said. He believes it will all be done before that. The annex adds 30,000 square feet to the courthouse building. It will include holding cells for prisoners coming from the correction facility to the courthouse. There will be no overnight holding. Prisoners will be transported back to the correction facility in Blooming Grove. Shackled prisoners will no longer have to be walked across the street from the jail. Sheriff Kerry Welsh said he'd been concerned about the prisoners' safety, and the deputies' too, as they walked shackled and handcuffed prisoners from the existing jail to the courthouse. The new building will eliminate that concern. "It's going to be a beautiful building, and secure, much more useable than this building," Welsh said said. Secure passageways will keep prisoners and the general public and court staff in their own hallways. The project is being completed at the expected cost of between $7 million and $8 million, Osterberg said. The historic Kenworthy building on Broad Street was preserved in the final plans, with the new annex running behind it. "It's going to be very nice and much needed," Osterberg said. He noted dryly that the caseload has increased "just a touch since 1873," when the current courthouse was built. The new building is expected to accommodate Pike County's increased caseload. Because of an Architectural Review Board ordinance, the public will be able to distinguish between the 1873 courthouse and the 2018 annex. Kevin Stroyan, Chair of the Architectural Review Board, said the ordinance "is pretty clear about this how this thing is supposed to work." The intent was not to mimic the existing building, but to be built in the same proportions. The untrained eye should be able to perceive the difference in the buildings. The expanded complex will actually be Pike County's fourth courthouse. The current jail, built in 1814, was the first. The second courthouse, constructed around 1851, was sited on what is now the lawn in front of the 1873 courthouse, and was torn down when that courthouse went up. The architect for the new building is David Wieboldt of Middletown, N.Y. The consulting engineers were McGoey, Hauser and Edsall. Editor's note: The original article misspelled Sheriff's Welsh's surname in a few references. The Courier regrets the error.