Rock Island Justice Center expansion readies for December opening

ROCK ISLAND -The $28-million Justice Center annex is on track to open for business on December 10 in Rock Island.

As workers continue with finishing touches, the project already looks like a secure step into the future. It's coming a long way from the health and safety issues at the nearby 1896-era courthouse.

"It's going to be a safe facility for everybody to be in," said Capt. Darren Hart, Rock Island County Sheriff's Department.

Safety that starts at the new main entrance.

"There will be an X-ray machine and a magnetometer that people will walk through," he continued.

The first floor also features the Circuit Clerk's office, where everything is designed for customer service and safety.

After observing the project from start to finish, Capt. Hart is ready.

"It seemed like it was going to go so long as a project of this magnitude," he said.  "It's great to be able to see it come to fruition so quickly."

On the second floor, there's a brand new family courtroom.  Since the buildings are connected, prisoners will be walked from the jail down a secure, separate passageway. The State's Attorney's offices are also on this floor.

The third floor will be a busy place.  Traffic court will take place in one of the larger courtrooms.  From the windows, you can see secure parking at ground level.

"I think the flow within the building will be quite inviting for individuals that do need to come here using the courthouse," he said.

While legal issues are at least temporarily slowing plans to demolish the century-old courthouse next door, it won't affect plans to open the new expansion.  They expect to start moving on December 7.

"The money that was used for the facility - we put a lot of effort into making sure the money was worthwhile," he concluded.