No New Courthouse In Downtown Everett

May 13, 2016

Everett

Today Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers announced his recommendation that no new courthouse be built in downtown Everett but that the current courthouse be remodeled. Here’s the press release from Kent Patton in the executive’s office…

courthouse

The Snohomish County Courthouse in downtown Everett

Today, Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers announced a decision regarding the long-delayed and much-debated courthouse project. He will formally recommend to the County Council a renovation of the current structure. While the county had the authority to construct a new building, the cost was too high and corresponding benefits too low.

“We want to make sure we are good stewards of public funds and also ensure our courthouse is more functional and safer,” said Executive Somers. “A renovation will achieve those goals and cost less than half of the previous estimates for a new building. Not one member of the public was breaking down our doors to build an expensive new structure for our law and justice system. Moving forward on a renovation will allow us to focus on other areas important to Snohomish County, in particular the heroin epidemic, economic development, and the county’s financial challenges. We favor excellent public service and effective operations over a new building.”

On taking office in January, Executive Somers organized a committee composed of county stakeholders and the City of Everett. The committee has been meeting for the last four months, examining all available options. Every option that included constructing a new building was prohibitively expensive and could jeopardize the county’s ability to staff and operate the new building. In fact, by building a new courthouse, the county’s finances would have been placed on an even more unsustainable path.

If approved by Council, Executive Somers will direct the architects to provide a plan for the renovation as quickly as possible. They have been asked to detail preliminary cost estimates to ensure a formal plan is before Council by August 31, 2016. The County will minimize disruption to courthouse operations during construction but ask for the public’s patience while the project is being completed.

According to the county’s building experts, the remodel should cost less than half of the previously planned and budgeted courthouse project, but the exact figure won’t be known until the detailed renovation plans are drafted. Since the previous courthouse project was budgeted to cost $162 million, the remodel should save the county at least half of that amount and possibly more. In addition, the architects will focus on making the renovated courthouse safer and more functional, primarily through seismic retrofits and the replacement of the barely functioning elevators. They are also looking at the possibility of using other existing space to reduce the need for inmate transportation.


About myeverettnews

My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring breaking news and events in Everett, WA. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett. It's written by Leland Dart a former Snohomish County based radio reporter born and raised in Everett.

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5 Responses to “No New Courthouse In Downtown Everett”

  1. Kay Says:

    Bravo Dave – finally a leader that gets what the people who pay taxes are saying! I agree wholeheartedly with his priorities. I don’t see what choice he had, considering all of the obstacles that the City of Everett put in the way of moving forward. Great job as always, Everett ‘leaders’!! I am relieved and thankful that the County leadership uses common sense – and I love that Dave doesn’t have a spokesperson!!!

    I just wonder what will happen with the property that was purchased in anticipation of the new building?

    • anon Says:

      Oh please put a homeless encampment in the empty lot! We have some extra tax money, it would help out the growing number of transplants via courthouse/jail. There are a ton of struggling Everett drug addicts that could use a safe, crime free place to stay…

      Sigh. If only I were mayor.

      • JimBeam Says:

        The mayor stood his ground on parking and the ramification is the county has dumped Seattle backpack wearing high use social service clients here, have you noticed the increase in the last 4 months? Take a stand and make a change when the opportunity presents.

  2. Patrick Says:

    Wonder where all the people complaining about government wasting money have gone?

    • Donkey Hotay Says:

      They’re wondering when the property seized by an unConstitutional decree is going to be returned to its rightful owners.