ROCK ISLAND - Rock Island County's $28-million Justice Center expansion opens to the public on Tuesday, December 11.
It's ushering in a new era in Rock Island County. The facility is designed for the future.
Inside the new Law Library, it's already loaded with books and online research.
There are three floors of offices and courtrooms. Each is wired for information.
"Courts now are all electronic," said Chief Judge Walter Braud. "You really have to have all of this new stuff to function."
Inside one of the brand new courtrooms, he praised teamwork for overcoming obstacles to complete the project.
This community-based effort will replace health and safety issues with a secure new setting. It will replace the 1896-era courthouse next door.
Challenges to demolition of the original building won't slow opening the new annex.
Construction involved some 300 union workers, who are building it to last.
"It is very important to our county that we have a place that the people feel comfortable," said Rock Island County State's Attorney John McGehee. "The court feels comfortable, and that we see justice."
Office spaces are coordinating for communication. The flow is inviting, and rooms are versatile. The annex blends into the Justice Center.
Judge Braud concludes that it will be positive for Rock Island County.
"It ain't gonna be that old town any more," he chuckled. "We're just going to have a new face."