“Your office is somewhere over there,” joked the Honorable Joseph Ellis to Gwynne Chatham, Clerk of Court, as he pointed toward the center of a grassy lot.
On this sunny day, a brisk wind whipped across the vacant field.
But a little more than a year from now, a two-story comprehensive judicial center for Westmoreland County will make this quiet spot and the Town of Montross a hub of activity.
“We are thrilled with the new Courthouse,” Chatham said. “We have waited for a long time and are glad to see it is coming.”
About 20 people attended the ground breaking ceremony for a 3,900 square foot facility that’s been a long time in the planning.
“I’ve been here 20 years and this had been in the planning two years before I came,” said County Administrator Norm Risavi shortly after wielding a shovel to help break ground along with several other county leaders.
“We have had to take files from the Old Courthouse over to the George D. English Building for over 20 years to have Court,” said Chatham. “It will be nice to be able to go down the hall to hold Court under the same roof.”
Construction is being completed by Maryland-based contractor W.M. Schlosser, who submitted the lowest bids last summer of $7.9 million for the main structure plus $477,000 for two proposed long-term additions. Schlosser joined the group and helped break ground. The completion date is scheduled for March 2014.