Council considers needed expansion for Harrison County Justice Center

Council considers expanding Harrison County Justice Center

CORYDON, Ind. (WAVE) - With more case filings coming in each year and limited space available, getting business done inside Harrison County’s Justice Center can feel like juggling as offices work to balance everyone’s needs with available space.

Around lunchtime inside the courthouse, you won’t find too many people hanging around inside the Harrison County Justice Center. But it’s a very different story in the mornings, around 9 a.m. when people are coming in for court, you’ll be hard pressed to find a seat.

Harrison County Prosecutor Otto Schalk’s office sits just a few feet away from the superior courtroom and the probation department. It’s convenient but also tricky. With limited space, Schalk said they have to keep their voices down at times to make sure the judge walking past won’t hear information about their cases, including possible sentences.

Nearby a large hole in the center of the second floor is a safety hazard with kids playing and people in court getting into fights.

The offices on the second floor share space wherever possible, but Schalk says with more case filings in recent years, things are getting tight.

“We’ve really just outgrown the building. Luckily, we all get along and we’ve been able to make do, however we are busting at the seams,” Schalk said.

Kyle Nix with the Harrison County council said the county council got approval from the state just last week to use money in a cumulative courthouse fund for the justice center. That was a concern because while the money was there, they weren’t sure if they would be able to use it with the other courthouse downtown.

The council has been discussing the justice center’s space needs for months. Now, Nix said, they can soon look at designs and architectural work to determine what a possible expansion may look like.

Schalk said he’s hopeful that the county council will find a solution that serves Harrison County’s needs now and in the decades to come.

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