New courthouse opens for business

By Fran Gonzalez | Apr 05, 2019
Photo by: Fran Gonzalez Maine Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Leigh Saufley, center, holds giant sheers after cutting a ribbon opening the Waldo Judicial Center April 5. She is flanked by Democratic Sen. Erin Herbig, left, and Republican former Senate President Mike Thibodeau.

Belfast — Maine Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Leigh Saufley wielded a large pair of red shears Friday at a ribbon-cutting, officially opening the new Waldo Judicial Center.

Flanked by Sen. Erin Herbig, D-Waldo County, and Republican former Senate President Mike Thibodeau, Saufley acknowledged local dignitaries who made the $13.5 million courthouse possible.

Many state representatives were on hand, as were all three county commissioners and Belfast Mayor Samantha Paradis.

"This facility has been needed for a very long time," Saufley said. "It represents justice in the middle of where the people of Belfast and of the people of Waldo County will wander on a regular basis."

Saufley said that in October 2016, Mark Carter of North Peak Architects was selected to design, and Ganneston Construction Corp. shortly thereafter to build, "this incredible solid building."

"They did an extraordinary job," she said.

According to Saufley, the building was built on time and at budget. It sits on a 1-acre site where a former garage, a home, and a small business office once stood.

The new courthouse replaces both the existing District and Superior courts. The three-story, 38,000-square-foot building has three courtrooms, is handicapped-accessible throughout, and is state-of-the-art in terms of communications, security and technology.

Saufley said the new courthouse has a consolidated clerk's office, multiple public conference rooms, rooms dedicated to mediation, and plenty of parking capacity. Other features include "energy-efficient heating and lighting" and is "flooded" with natural light in the second-story sitting area with views of downtown Belfast and the bay.

In closing, Saufley thanked the "unsung heroes," the clerks who have "worked so long in such challenging settings, and the marshals who have kept us safe."

"It really does make a difference when people work together," she said.

(Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
Spectators wait for the ribbon-cutting ceremony to begin at Waldo County's new courthouse in Belfast April 5. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
Maine Chief Justice Leigh Saufley, right, chats with Sen. Erin Herbig April 5 at the official opening of the Waldo Judicial Center. Saufley said, "This facility has been needed for a very long time." (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
Visitors take in one of many pieces of artwork at the Waldo Judicial Center April 5. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
The main entrance to the Waldo Judicial Center April 5. Visitors streamed in to tour the new facility and have cake and refreshments. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
(Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
Belfast Mayor Samantha Paradis talks with Rep. Jan Dodge, D-Belfast, in blue, at the ribbon-cutting for the new courthouse April 5. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
The Waldo Judicial Center is completely ADA-accessible with ramps, elevators and wide aisles to accommodate wheelchairs. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
One of three courtrooms at the new Waldo Judicial Center April 5. State-of-the-art communications allow for computer-conferencing, along with a large screen at left (not pictured) for jurors to see enlarged documents. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
Natural light streams into the second-story sitting area, which commands a sweeping view of downtown Belfast and the bay. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
(Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
(Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
Looking through the window of the Waldo Judicial Center to the old courthouse on the right, April 5, at the ribbon-cutting event. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
The new jury room is bigger than the room allocated for jurors at the old courthouse, and according to the courthouse spokesman, has more dependable heat. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
Visitors take in the many pieces of artwork on display during a tour of the new courthouse April 5. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.