By Katy Savage, Standard Staff
Assistant Side Judge Jack Anderson wasn’t wearing slacks or tie on Monday morning. Instead, he came to work dressed in blue jeans and a button down shirt. He had a measuring tape strapped to his pocket.
Anderson was about to spend his day building walls for the judge’s chambers downstairs in the courtroom. Over the past couple weeks, he had already built shelves for thousands of boxes worth of court documents, working with court employees to help move out of the Windsor County Court House on the green to the former jail and temporary home at 62 Pleasant St. in Woodstock. The court has been closed while employees move truckloads of books and thousands of documents to the new location.
After a bond issue was presented at Town Meeting in March, 60 percent of the voters in Windsor County gave the go-ahead for a $2 million renovation project of the Windsor County Court House to make it handicap accessible.
Voters approved a 10-year bond, which would cost taxpayers with a $200,000 property about $50 over the life of the bond, assuming a 2.46 percent interest rate. Anderson is preparing a spreadsheet with the actual cost of the bond with the new 2.79 percent interest rate.
“By passing the bond issue we created a heck of a lot of work,” Anderson said.
Downstairs in the former jail was a former shooting range where sheriffs used to practice shooting pistols. The judges’ desk was built by inmates over a decade ago.
Court will be held at the former jail building for nine months. Anderson is trying to cut down on costs by doing some of the contract work himself. He’s built walls for three additional office spaces upstairs in the former men’s minimum detention area and was about to build a firewall and install sprinklers to bring the building up to fire code.
The former jail cells on the first floor are now full of boxes, including court documents and computers.
There is still furniture and desks, rugs and photos that need to be moved out of the Court House before the construction of a 26-by-26 foot edition to the back of the building begins in November.
Anderson is working on getting the building permits this week. When the court reopens on the green, there will be metal detectors, a new elevator, an air-conditioning system and handicap accessible doors with renovated bathrooms.
There is a full day of proceedings when the court resumes at its temporary location on Monday. Despite the challenges in the months ahead, the judges are looking forward to the renovations.
“It’s going to be tight for a while,” Assistant Judge David Singer said.