NEW CASTLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The courts are closed this week in Henry County, Kentucky, but it's for good reason. The judges and the circuit court clerk’s office are moving back to an old location that has been given a major makeover.
The 150-year-old Henry County Courthouse has undergone a $13 million renovation, and the judicial offices are moving from a temporary location in nearby Eminence where they have been operating for three years.
“We're closed this week to the public so that we can get everything moved over,” Circuit Court Clerk Gina Lyle said.
It is not just books, files and office furniture that have to be moved.
“Our computer systems and everything have to be taken down,” Lyle said. “Phone systems have to be taken down and moved over here.”
The renovation was paid for with funds allocated by the General Assembly, and it more than doubles the space. Instead of just one courtroom shared by four judges, there are now three.
“We have court at least three days a week," Lyle said. "It's growing more into four or five days a week."
There is also now a holding area for prisoners.
“We were just holding them in the courtroom, sitting in the jury box,” Lyle said. “They would have to use the same restrooms as the judges and public.”
The new section incorporates parts of the old, including some original wrought iron railing. The old clock tower is now on display outside the circuit courtroom in specially built case.
“It was very important to us that it continued to look historical,” Lyle said.
The courthouse extension was built around the old county jail and incorporates its exterior walls.
“They gutted that, put the restrooms in there, but the exterior walls of that they left exposed, which is absolutely beautiful,” Lyle said. “It's my favorite part of the courthouse.”
Lyle said she understands being closed for a week is an inconvenience. Some business can still be conducted online and through the circuit court clerk’s drop box. One judge held a hearing via Zoom.
Regular court activity is scheduled to resume Monday in the new-old space.
“It will be nice to be home," Lyle said. "We've waited a long time and are very, very proud of this building, and we know Henry County will be very proud.”
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