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Stafford’s courthouse complex is expanding

Stafford's courthouse complex off U.S. 1 is expanding to include a new building. Photo: Mary Davidson

The old rescue station is coming down and a new courthouse annex is going up.

Stafford County officials will spend $3 million to build new offices that will house its Commonwealth Attorney and Court Services organizations, where a 30-year-old department of fire and rescue building that used to house a rescue squad now stands on the grounds of the county’s administrative center and courthouse.

With the new two-story, 11,000 square foot building, the county expects to save a considerable amount of money in rent costs it incurs from leasing multiple offices across from the courthouse, said Stafford County Administrator Anthony Romanello.

 “What we’ve done is been able to reduce our costs in the long term by not paying lease costs by building this new building, and it’s really a function of taking advantage of the great construction climate we’re in,” said Romanello.

Last week, county supervisors decided to solicit bids for the project, which will be paid for with bonds the county sold in 2008. Romanello said $3.3 million in bond money was supposed to go to expanding the courthouse, but now will go to the construction of this new building.

The rescue squad that used to occupy the building has moved to a new firehouse that opened on nearby Courthouse Road.

The new offices could open in early 2012.

There was some talk about converting the old building, but officials decided it would be more cost effective to build a new structure after seeing that a new roof, new walls to enclose the garage bays, canopies, exterior doors, and an elevator was needed to make the building compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to county documents.

“There is the possibility of hidden defects and non-conforming construction methods that could escalate the cost substantially,” county documents showed.

*This story originally appeared on on Tuesday June 22, 2010.

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