The just-approved expansion and renovation of the Orange County Government Center in Goshen promises to restore normalcy to state court operations disrupted since Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee forced the building to close in summer 2011, an administrator said.
County legislators endorsed up to $74 million in bonds for the project last week with partial demolition of the government building in Goshen scheduled to begin in August. The work will be completed by the end of 2016, legislators said.
“This may not be the beginning of the end, but, as Winston Churchill said, it is the end of the beginning,” Justice Alan Scheinkman (See Profile), administrative judge of the Ninth Judicial District, said Tuesday.
The vote ended more than two years of debate over whether to bulldoze the Paul Rudolph-designed building or to try to salvage it. The plan calls for tearing down one of the three sections in the complex where the Supreme Court was located, and gutting the other two for a 61,000-square-foot expansion.
Scheinkman said that all state courts will continue to operate from a government center annex. Two courtrooms for Supreme Court were fashioned in the annex from space used as waiting areas for Family Court litigants.
Space for a third Supreme Court courtroom was found when the historic 1841 courthouse was taken out of mothballs. Scheinkman said the 1841 courtroom will close for about six months starting this summer for the removal of lead-based paint and other improvements.