Tight space pushes judges out of RJC

Because of a lack of space at the Regional Justice Center, two district judges will begin hearing cases in a building next door to the downtown courthouse.

District Judges Abbi Silver and Kathleen Delany and their staff will move to the Phoenix building, 330 S. Third St. They are the first two judges to move because of space issues. They will hear cases on the 11th floor starting Monday.

"We worked hard to reduce remodeling costs and create an extension that serves the needs of the community," Court Executive Officer Edward Friedland said in a prepared statement.

The courtrooms in the Phoenix building will be used for civil and business litigation. County court marshals will be assigned to the courtrooms for security.

Court officials will eventually need to find more space for an additional nine judges that were approved by the Legislature. The judges will take the bench in 2011.

County spokesman Erik Pappa said county officials expected the need for more space would increase, and have worked with the courts to accommodate the judges.

"And we anticipate that we can do that in time for the nine (judges) coming on board in 2011," Pappa said. "I don’t think the growth of our judicial system is particularly surprising given our population growth over the years."

The Regional Justice Center opened about four years late in November 2005. The 17-floor courthouse cost $60 million more than the initial bid and was twice as big as it was originally planned.

Clark County awarded the bid to build the Regional Justice Center to AF Construction. In December, arbitrators stated that both the county and AF Construction shared the blame for the courthouse construction problems.

But arbitrators placed more blame on the county and awarded AF Construction $52.6 million.

Review-Journal writer Scott Wyland contributed to this report. Contact reporter David Kihara at dkihara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039.

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