Temporarily relocating 4th District courtrooms in various locations around the county would be inconvenient and expensive, Utah County commissioners told Gov. Norm Bangerter this week.
In a letter, Bangerter, local legislators and other state officials, the commissioners said it makes more sense to leave the 4th District Court in the County Courthouse until a new facility is constructed.Under a proposal discussed with local judges and the Administrative Office of the Courts, 4th District courtrooms would be moved this summer from the courthouse into the juvenile court building in Provo and the Orem and Spanish Fork circuit court buildings.
County commissioners are offering to lease the courthouse to the state for $7.50 per square foot, a price court administrators say is excessive. Last month the state took over from counties operation of district courts.
"The Utah County Commission requests that the Utah State Legislature make provision in all applicable legislation that the 4th District Court remain in the old Utah County Building until a new court facility is built," the commission's letter says.
Gordon Bissegger, state deputy court administrator, said he would rather see the 4th District Court stay put until a new building is completed. But temporarily relocating the court could be less expensive unless the proposed $7.50 rate, which commissioners said is negotiable, is lowered substantially, he said.
"To us, that ($7.50 per square foot) would be excessive," Bissegger said. "That's a little high for the condition the facility is in."
Bissegger said his office and local judges will decide whether to recommend that the 4th District Court be temporarily relocated.
He said the courthouse doesn't meet state security or handicapped-access standards, lacks a sprinkler system and is seismically unsafe. Besides, Bissegger added, the courthouse costs the county only $3.50 a square foot to maintain and operate.
Fourth District Court executive Mike Havemann said the state pays $5 to $6.50 per square foot for district court space at other buildings that meet standards.