The $1.4 million annex to the Guy Race Judicial Complex has been completed. The ribbon cutting was held Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m., with judicial dignitaries and public officials joining in the celebration.
"I want to thank each of you for the part you played in making this a reality," said Eugene Lamb, chairman of the Gadsden County Board of Commissioners.
The expansion resulted from a request by Chief Judge Charles A. Francis and the public defender's office for more space.
Doug Smith, public information officer for the Second Judicial District, said the new court room and additional office space has been needed for a long time.
The new courtroom will also make it possible for Hearing Officer Kathy Garner to move out of the Commission Chambers, which she now uses as a makeshift courtroom for child support hearings.
The additional courtroom, which is on the first floor, will be similar in size to the courtroom in the annex. Office space for the Gadsden County Public Defender's Office will be on the second floor. The new courtroom will also help alleviate jail overcrowding and reduce the county's court dockets.
The project took a year to complete, breaking ground in June 10, 2008. The project was paid for mostly through funding from the state legislature.
"It's an honor to be here. I want to thank former representative Curtis Richardson who fought long and hard, along with Sen. Al Lawson, to get funding for this project. I also want to thank the county lobbyist, Chris Doolin, who stayed on top of this project," said Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee.
Local architect Joel Sampson designed the new courtroom. Southern Triad Construction of Bainbridge, Ga. was the contractor.