Turner Valley courthouse renovation out for bids
Justice: Building expected to open in late summer or early fall
By: Darlene Casten
| Posted: Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 04:03 pm
The process to re-open the Turner Valley courthouse is under way as an architect has completed drawings of the building’s renovation and the government has put the project out for tender.
Work has already begun on renovating the 35-year-old building. Roof repairs are underway at a cost of $67,821 and interior demolition has also begun.
The building, previously the Turner Valley town office, will require extensive renovations to change it back into a courtroom including the construction of secure holding cells and a prisoner’s dock.
The exterior of the building will remain the same.
The renovation project is currently out for tender until Jan. 30. Infrastructure officials said the cost of the successful bid should be in available in early February.
Architects’ drawings of what the new courthouse will look like cannot be released because of security concerns. The cost of the architects work is also not being released by the government.
The Province bought the municipal building and an adjacent piece of land from the Town of Turner Valley for $850,000 last March.
A press release from the Town of Turner Valley said the courthouse was expected to open by the end of 2012.
However, Infrastructure officials say the courthouse was always anticipated to open in late summer or early fall 2013.
Infrastructure spokesperson Roxanne Nanuan said an August or September opening is more likely.
“Our last update was early fall – in September, or October or November, but now it is more like August or September,” Nanuan said.
The Turner Valley courthouse is expected to relieve the long wait times for trials and preliminary inquiries at the Okotoks provincial courthouse, which can take as long as 14 months. Those long wait times could result in cases being thrown out of court if they drag on for an unacceptable amount of time.
It is also hoped to help revitalized downtown Turner Valley, which has seen several businesses shut down in recent years.
Turner Valley Mayor Kelly Tuck said she is excited the courthouse is opening this year.
The initial hope was it would already be open, but Tuck said she isn’t disappointed it will be later. She said the Province if facing tough fiscal times and the fact they are continuing with this project shows it is a priority.
“As long as the courthouse opens I’m happy,” Tuck said. “There is no money anywhere – so that they are going forward is great.”