|Apr 21, 2011 --
The existing Custer County courthouse was built in 1971. There are only five windows in the current courthouse facility and none of the windows are capable of egress in an emergency situation. The un-insulated building is showing evidence of moisture problems due to inadequate drainage, lacks adequate restrooms, and the courthouse is not handicapped accessible in all areas.
Custer County Courthouse was awarded federal funding for the addition with assistance from the American Recovery Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Funding through a USDA Rural Development Community Facility Program Direct Loan in the amount of $5,271,000. A ground breaking was held last July 2010 and an estimated completion date is expected November 2011.
The addition will provide needed space, constructed with safety and security features and compliant with the 504 Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
USDA Rural Development Assistant Administrator for the Water and Environmental Program Jacqueline M. Ponti-Lazaruk, joined USDA Rural Development State Director Elsie Meeks, staff and congressional representatives on a tour of the Custer County Courthouse that is presently undergoing a transformation. The tour is part of Earth Day celebrations being held West River.
“This project fits into the Earth Day theme A Billion Acts of Green because it was designed to meet and be certified under the Silver LEED standards,” said Ponti-Lazaruk. “President Obama and his administration are strong supporters of sustainable green building and development practices.”
“The Custer County Courthouse is a great project that has implemented strategies for better environmental and health performance,” said Meeks. “These upgrades will increase energy efficiency and the facility will be handicapped accessible.”
“We recognized that we had a facilities issue here in Custer County and fortunately had the resolve to address it head on. We did an energy audit and realized that we could design efficiencies into an enlarged and remodeled facility that would significantly offset the long term cost of the improvements. With the help of our partners at Rural Development, Custer County will have a courthouse facility that the citizens will be proud of for many years”, said David Green, Custer County’s Planning and Economic Development Director.