Court date

Court date

Dear Ace: I thought the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court building was supposed to be finished by now, but every time I drive by it, it’s still under construction. What’s the deal?—Joe V. Hall

Joe: Oh, no worries. The Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court is still open for business. You can still press charges against those kids who threw snowballs at your car, it’s just that you’ll have to go across the street to do it. The court building on E. High Street has been cloaked by scaffolding for a few years now, but J and D cases have been tried in the court’s supposedly temporary home at the historic Levy Opera House since construction began. Of course, bureaucracy being bureaucracy, the Opera House had to undergo some renovation of its own before the court could even think about renovating. Thing is, it took just a couple months back in 2002 and 2003 to prep the Opera House for occupancy. Why is it taking years for the J and D Court’s permanent residence to be fixed up?

Decades-old structural problems, among other things, are delaying the renovation of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court building—not indefinitely, let’s hope.

Expecting a government-directed construction project to be done ahead of schedule was your first mistake. From the start—i.e., when construction began back in August 2004—the $13.5 million project was scheduled for completion in 2008. Unfortunately, construction workers ran into trouble around this time last year, when, on March 30, 2006, an entire wall collapsed to rubble before their very eyes. That delayed the project indefinitely, so don’t hold your breath on the thing being finished all that soon. The question remains, though, as to why the renovation has been such a long process in the first place. Ace hit the streets, heading over to the construction site to check it out.

First, they had to gut the old building. Since then, they’ve been plugging away on fixing decades-old structural problems, rebuilding certain sections from scratch, re-extending the whole building to replace the part that collapsed, outfitting the renovated building with all the necessary facilities and tidying up when they’re through. All that stuff’ll be done, well, when it’s done. In Ace’s estimation, it doesn’t even look close to done.

So Joe, it’s still under construction because it’s scheduled to still be under construction, but it’s also hit a couple snags along the way that’ll guarantee the thing’s still going to be under construction for a while yet to come. There’s a metaphor for government in there somewhere, Ace just knows it.