Posted: Aug 8, 2014 4:43 PM by Troy Gaulden
Updated: Aug 8, 2014 6:00 PM
LIVINGSTON - A new $20 million courthouse is nearly complete in Livingston Parish.
The new building, located along Highway 63, should be complete in October so agencies can move over in December. The parish raised $18 million by selling revenue bonds. The District Attorney's Office, Sheriff's Office, Clerk of Court and judges pitched in another $2 million.
"There wasn't any point in moving forward until we could figure out how we could pay for it, and once this became available it looked like a good route to go. Basically all the agencies got on board and that's what we did," said Clerk of Court Tom Sullivan.
The old courthouse was built in 1941 and poses several problems for the Livingston Parish justice system.
"You can come in and your air might not be working that day and you just got to deal with it," said Sheriff Jason Ard. "Of course the parish does the best they can to keep things running. Quite frequently we have some drainage problems which causes backups in bathrooms, which at times we have to actually shut down."
In the 1960s major additions to the courthouse added more office space behind the building. It also tacked on more ways people could enter the courthouse.
"It's not secured very well. The courtrooms are very small. The hallways are very tight," said District Attorney Scott Perrilloux. "Separating victims and defendants and their families is always an issue for us."
The new courthouse will vastly improve security by having only one entrance and exit for the public.
"The new courthouse is going to be a tremendous upgrade for us to be able to have basically one way in and be able to have some nice metal detectors and things of that nature to help heighten the security which is much needed," said Ard.
Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks says he hopes to preserve the old courthouse building to house other parish agencies. The other building additions will be leveled.