- Associated Press - Saturday, April 26, 2014

KINGMAN, Ariz. (AP) - Mohave County has outgrown its 100-year-old courthouse in Kingman, and a new one is desperately needed, officials said this week.

The Mohave County Board of Supervisors discussed a report Monday from the National Center for State Courts, which found that operations should be moved because of safety concerns and other issues.

Supervisor Steven Moss said it’s clear the current courthouse is filled with numerous safety hazards, citing the center’s photos of exposed air ducts and dirty windows. Renovating the old one would be difficult because of the size and historical value.

“The new courthouse is desperately needed,” Moss said.

Money for a new proposed courthouse might have to come from renewing a sales tax due to expire in 2019, supervisors said. Some court officials have proposed making the quarter-cent sales tax permanent to easily bring in $6 million a year.

The state courts center’s architects said the proposed 88,000-square-foot new courthouse could cost between $22 million and $25 million. The proposal calls for a courthouse that includes seven courtrooms, two justice of the peace courtrooms, judge’s chambers and space for support staff. There would also be a secured area for inmates going to and from the nearby jail and secured elevators. The proposed site would be in Kingman, west of the sheriff’s office.

Chang-Ming Yeh, a facility planner for the state courts center, said the new courthouse would be built in phases as money becomes available.

Attorneys and judges have complained about the condition of the current courthouse.

Security has also been a problem, Presiding Superior Court Judge Chuck Gurtler said.

A homeless man was recently found living in the courthouse, Gurtler said. He was able to get in the building by sneaking through a hole in the wall, authorities said. The hole has since been patched up.

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