- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 27, 2014

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A new Litchfield County courthouse that’s been discussed for the past four decades is about to become a reality, with state officials Tuesday announcing the expected approval of an $81 million building project in Torrington.

The State Bond Commission, headed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, will vote Friday on borrowing $71 million for the courthouse, which would replace four facilities, including the 1889 Judicial District courthouse near the Litchfield Green.

Officials said $5.8 million has already been approved, and another $4.4 million is expected to be approved in the future.

“Though it’s taken more than a generation, I’m proud that we could move this project forward and begin the NECESSARY work of building a 21st century courthouse,” Malloy said in a statement. “By consolidating operations into one facility, we can save taxpayers time and make operations more efficient.”

The new, 174,000-square-foot courthouse and nearby 384-space parking lot would be built off Field Street in Torrington by the summer of 2016 and is expected to create more than 1,400 construction jobs, officials said. It would include eight courtrooms, several hearing rooms, judges’ chambers and other offices for criminal, civil, family and juvenile cases.



It would house operations now packed into 39,000 square feet in four buildings - the 1889 Litchfield Superior Court building, Bantam Superior Court, Juvenile Court in Torrington and a family services office. The state now pays to lease all those buildings, except the 19th century courthouse.

Under state law, the Judicial Branch must maintain a presence in the 1889 courthouse, officials said. It hasn’t been determined how the building will be used.

Officials said efforts to build a new Litchfield County courthouse over the years have been fraught with problems, including disputes over where it should be built, issues with acquiring property and design questions.

“No one can doubt the need for a new courthouse to serve the citizens of the Litchfield Judicial District,” said Judge Patrick L. Carroll III, the state’s chief court administrator.

The last new courthouses built in the state were the $40 million Bridgeport Juvenile Court complex in 2008 and the $93 million Stamford Superior Court complex in 2002.

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