Chatham fetes opening of new Justice Center

Facility hailed as safe, modern and efficient
Jan. 04, 2013 @ 06:17 PM

Serving as the intersection of several segments of local government, the new Chatham County Justice Center officially opened its doors Friday.

The public gathered with former and current community leaders at 2 p.m. Friday at for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the center, located off of Sanford Road.

Chatham County Board of Commissioners Chairman Walter Petty welcomed more than 100 people to celebrate the grand opening of the recently constructed justice center.

"This will meet the need of our judicial needs for many years to come," he said, "and it will do so efficiently and safely."

The $23.7 million project came in under budget, Petty said, and was constructed on time. A United States Department of Agriculture loan helped finance the 87,093-square-foot facility at a low interest rate, he said.

During the invocation, Chatham County Commissioner Mike Cross said, "We ask for Your assistance to provide safety to all who serve and conduct business here."

The new justice center is fully equipped to manage any sort of potential security breach in a modern fashion, said Chatham County Sheriff Richard Webster.

"We are honored to be given the mission of protecting this facility," he said, citing several security features. "This is a modern approach to the judicial system."

The building, he said, does not belong to the state, but to the residents of Chatham County.

The ribbon cutting concluded with a ceremonial session of Superior Court, with comments from the N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Sarah Parker and tours throughout the justice center.

According to information provided at the ceremony, the justice center will house Superior Court, District Court, Clerk of Superior Court, the District Attorney's Office, Probation Services, the Public Defender's Office, Guardian ad Litem, Chatham 360 first offender program, Treatment Accountability for Safer Communities and Juvenile Justice. 

The center's doors officially opened Wednesday, with court staff moving into the building in mid-December.