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Wadena board, district court staff and BKV Architect meet

From left to right, commissioner Jim Hofer, architect Bruce Schwartzman, BKV associate Mike Grage.

The Wadena County Board held a special meeting Jan. 22 to allow commissioners to confer with Seventh District Court personnel, county department heads, and the newly-hired architect from BKV Group, Bruce Schwartzman.

The purpose of the meeting was to consider Schwartzman's initial proposal to remodel the county's two courtrooms, judicial chambers, court staff space, security arrangements, and law library.

Schwartzman presented a basic layout drawing to the group, including Seventh District Court Judge Sally Robertson, Chief Judge John Scherer, Court Administrator Rhonda Bot, Courts Manager Jeri Scheller, the five commissioners, Assistant County Engineer Jeff Adolphson, Maintenance Supervisor Sean Uselman, Sheriff's Chief Deputy Bill Cross, County Attorney Kyra Ladd, and Auditor/Treasurer Judy Taves.

During a meeting lasting nearly two and a half hours, the group discussed the pros and cons of the drawing and whether the proposed changes could meet the needs of the court. Schwartzman took notes on the suggestions made by the judges and court staff, and the concerns of the Sheriff's Department and County Attorney. Periodically, Commissioner Jim Hofer, who chaired the meeting, summarized what had been said.

The major concerns of the group seemed to be security, sightlines in the courtrooms, providing enough physical space for the procedures of the court to take place, planning for technology available now and in the future, staging the project so that the judicial system could continue to operate during construction, and complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Schwartzman toured the court portion of the Courthouse after the meeting to update the measurements he had previously taken and study the circulation patterns in the building.

The group will meet again Mar. 7 to see an updated plan by Schwartzman.