Plans to Relocate and Recover County Courthouses in Full Swing

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Local justice officials are moving forward with repairs and updates to bay county’s court facilities as Hurricane Michael delayed the process, and forced some court operations to relocate.

On Wednesday the Bay County Clerks and Courts Facilities Committee met to get an update to three courthouse projects.

The Bay County Courthouse needs the least amount of work.

“Most of the damages was up on the third floor. We’ll come in here, we’ll do the repairs to the roof. There’s also some aesthetics if you look around the building. Carpet, paint, we’re going to do that also,” said Bay County Public Works Director, Keith Bryant.

The juvenile courthouse facility on East 11th street suffered storm damage including the annex which was completely destroyed. The storm also derailed plans to relocate juvenile court operations. 

Bryant said, “we had a plan prior to the hurricane. We were going to temporarily relocate the juvenile down to old city hall by the marina. That building was destroyed by the storm.”

County officials are moving ahead with plans to build a Juvenile Courthouse near the main county courthouse.

“We’re going out to bid for that project in April, around mid-April. It’s going to be a 31,000 square foot facility adjacent to the county’s building,” said Bryant. 

Bryant says having the counties court buildings on one campus will be more effective.

The old federal courthouse near the downtown marina was also heavily damaged, forcing operations to relocate to the beach. The federal government is giving the county an extra year to remodel the juvenile courthouse for the new federal courts.

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