County launches new building in Coupeville

"A groundbreaking ceremony was held March 21 in Coupeville for the county's new Law and Justice Building.The $5.2 million structure will be located east of the Island County Courthouse on a lot that has been cleared of several buildings that once housed a scattering of county offices.The Island County Commissioners awarded the construction bid to Bellingham-based Haskell Corporation for the two-story, 28,124-square-foot structure. It will contain two courtrooms, a hearing room, an office for judges, the sheriff's office, prosecuting attorney's office, and the juvenile court services department.Included will be a skybridge connecting the new courtrooms to the existing jail.Island County Commissioner Mike Shelton said Thursday that the building is being funded primarily by nearly $10 million the county borrowed several years ago by issuing bonds. By staying under $10 million, a more favorable interest rate was achieved.The bond proceeds will pay for the new building and for most of two other construction phases, Shelton said. Those phases are remodeling the old courthouse and remodeling the courthouse annex building. We've done this without asking people to pay additional taxes, Shelton said, adding that a much smaller bond issue will probably be made next year to complete all the phases.The Law and Justice Building should be complete about this time next year, Shelton said. Also on the drawing boards is a new juvenile detention facility planned for the same area in Coupeville. Voters have already approved a sales tax increase to pay for that project."

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