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Posted: 3:19 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013
By Dave Faherty
CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. —
Overcrowded courtrooms, workers sitting on top of each other and walls of paperwork are just a few reasons leaders are pushing for a major expansion at the Catawba County Justice Center. Work has already begun to add parking at the center in what will be a $23 million project. County leaders said they are able to pay for the expansion through a half-cent raise in the sales tax approved by voters in 2007. Clerk of Court Al Jean Bogle took Channel 9 into the basement of the courthouse where she said they are running out of space for important court records. It has been 30 years since the Justice Center was built. During that time, the staff inside the clerk's officer has more than doubled, but without any changes. "The expansion project will add three new courtrooms and approximately 125,000-square feet to the Justice Center," Bogle said. The county's 911 center will also change dramatically. It has been three decades since they have done a renovation there. County leaders said the current 911 center has inadequate space for equipment, lack of electrical power and limited options for remodeling. The county was cited by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for inadequate space at the Emergency Operations Center. On Monday, County Commissioners will vote whether to accept the lowest bid of $23.5 million. Some of the work could begin as early as next month and will take approximately two years to complete.
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