Changes proposed for Storey County Court House |

Changes proposed for Storey County Court House

by Susie Vasquez, Appeal Staff Writer

VIRGINIA CITY — Storey County officials are stacked in the courthouse and commissioners are planning a change.

Built in the 1870s, the historic building doesn’t have enough room for computers or operations. Moving the district attorney, sheriff’s office and justice court to the Storey County Jail provides the simplest and most cost-effective solution, according to Commissioner Greg “Bum” Hess.

“We’ve outgrown it,” he said. “The computers take up a lot more room and we’re on top of each other.”

Administrative Officer Marilou Walling underscored that, saying people line up in the halls to get into the assessor’s office. Defendants, the accused and Justice of the Peace Annette Daniels all walk through the same door in the old Justice Court, creating a major hazard.

“She has to walk right past the people she sentences,” Hess said. “If there’s any trouble, she has nowhere to go.”

Q&D Construction Inc. of Reno is being considered for the project and the cost of the initial planning phase is expected to run about $40,000, that money coming from Storey County’s general fund.

The first phase will include a definition needs, plans, schematics and cost break-downs. The costs for phase two, which includes formal design and construction, haven’t been determined. The money for phase two will be budgeted in the next fiscal year and the project will begin some time after July of 2003, according to Hess.

The research is far from complete, but moving the District Attorney’s Office, Justice Court and the Sheriff’s Office to the Storey County Jail seems to be at the top of the wish list.

“That will free up three pretty good-sized areas,” Hess said. “The commissioners could move into the district attorney’s office and the assessor into the sheriff’s office. District Court could be used for any number of things, as a meeting room or for storage.”

Expansion of the courthouse is still being considered, but it will be expensive and difficult, in part because the building is landlocked, according to Commissioner Bob Kershaw.

The parking lot to the south is owned by the McBride family, long-time Virginia City residents who own the Bucket of Blood Saloon. They lease their lot to the County for $1 a year, and some asphalt work.

Part of the lot on the north side of the building is owned and occupied by by Louise Driggs and will require a condemnation, according to Hess.

Commissioners will meet with Q&D planners in two- to three-hour sessions over the next couple of weeks. More discussion and a decision are expected at the next commissioner’s meeting June 18.