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Eight more courtrooms added to courthouse

The already-packed Regional Justice Center has squeezed in eight more courtrooms, which should end judges’ having to share courtrooms.

At a cost of $16.75 million in renovations, the courtrooms and accompanying office space are on the third and fourth floors of the 17-story courthouse, at Lewis and Third streets.

Space on those floors became available after the courts went paperless in 2010 in civil cases and no longer needed to store massive amounts of records in the building.

A Clark County District Court spokeswoman said 30 million pages of legal documents were scanned and converted to electronic files to make space for the new courtrooms.

And about 100 employees who used to be housed on the third-floor clerk’s office were moved across the street to the Clark Building.

District judges have endured sharing courtrooms with one another since adding seven new judges in 2011, confusing jurists, lawyers and the public.

The new judicial positions, which increased the number of District Court judges to 52, were created by the 2009 Legislature to help courthouse officials deal with an overwhelming civil case-load.

Two district judges, who in 2009 began hearing cases across the street from the courthouse in the Phoenix building on Third Street because of the overcrowding, will remain at the Phoenix building.

The Justice Center has had its share of woe since opening three years late in 2005. Problems have included malfunctioning elevators, lengthy security lines, a leaking roof and millions of dollars in unplanned construction costs.

The building’s original design in 1999 called for an eighteenth floor, which would have eased the current overcrowding.

But the county eliminated the extra floor to save $3 million.

Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@
reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039.

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