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(Rick Hickman / American Press)<br>

(Rick Hickman / American Press)

New City Court almost ready for opening

Last Modified: Saturday, March 02, 2013 6:43 PM

By Eric Cormier / American Press

Lake Charles City Court Judge John Hood said he eagerly awaits the completion of the new City Court that is being built at 100 N. Mill St.

Construction started last year and when completed, the building should be everything Hood visualized when he and Judge Thomas Quirk began their efforts to get a new city judicial center built.

“I’m beginning to believe that it’s going to happen. We’re just thrilled with all aspects of the construction and how hard the architect and building contractor are working on it,” he said.

What excites him, aside from the thought of City Court having its own work area, is that once completed, the building’s appearance will be modern while at the same time pay homage to Lake Charles’ past.

In the early stages of the project — before financing and designs were completed — Hood and Quirk provided local architect Randy Goodloe a picture of a Lake Charles courthouse from 1910 that burned down.

“That was our starting point. And since the court is in the historic downtown Lake Charles area, we wanted to have a building that was true to the flavor of the district,” Hood said.

The $5 million courthouse will include 22,000 square feet with two courtrooms and offices for each judge and their staffs, Violations Division, Civil Division, city prosecutor and the Ward 3 city marshal.

Construction was financed with funding from the Calcasieu Parish Public Trust Authority, city of Lake Charles, City Court and the marshal.

Chris Provost, construction administrator for Goodloe, said the building is 65 percent complete.

“Workers are starting to do the interior painting. We’ve got Sheetrock up,” he said. “There is still some exterior work to do and trim work. We’re shooting for April to be finished, but realistically it could be mid-May.”

Goodloe said that given the budget, the finished product will be a landmark. He described the design of the courthouse as a mix of contemporary and classical.

“Our team had to strategically pick and choose where to spend money on extra elements. When we started drawing the designs, the idea was to do something traditional and keep with the local flavor,” he said.

To do that, Goodloe said, the courthouse had to be planned considering the plot of land that it sits on. The courthouse, which was conceived with the Smart Code as the guideline, is going to be close to Mill Street.

“And the site was already elevated from the north to the south, and that gives it a heightened look from the streetscape. It is going to look massive and stately,” Goodloe said.

The court has a brick exterior and will have columns in the front.

“Even though we were limited these days because of budgets, which makes it difficult to use a lot of classical materials, this building will stand the test of time. We feel that it is a good design and will last 100 years,” Goodloe said.

Hood is happy the court will open without a tax being placed on residents.

“We combined the best of the old and new. There is no tax nor bond issue, and we didn’t want to burden property owners and taxpayers,” he said.

City Court is now housed in the Lake Charles Housing Authority Building.

Posted By: Doug On: 3/3/2013

Title: North?

Doesn't Mill Street run east and west? 100 North Mill?

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