Davis courthouse campus renovation preparations begin, cause parking dilemma

Jan 21 2011 - 12:38am

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(MATTHEW ARDEN HATFIELD/Standard-Examiner) A building area is fenced off at the Davis County Memorial Courthouse campus in Farmington on Wednesday as part of a $19.6 million renovation of the campus, which includes tearing down four buildings and building three new buildings.
(MATTHEW ARDEN HATFIELD/Standard-Examiner) A building area is fenced off at the Davis County Memorial Courthouse campus in Farmington on Wednesday as part of a $19.6 million renovation of the campus, which includes tearing down four buildings and building three new buildings.

FARMINGTON -- To say parking space is at a premium around the Davis County Memorial Courthouse in downtown Farmington, is like saying baseball slugger Babe Ruth was a pretty good contact hitter.

Both claims are a bit of an understatement.

As of Monday, there are 92 parking spaces available outside the historic county courthouse, Davis County Commissioner Bret Millburn said, as construction crews begin to stage around the building in preparation for the $19.6 million courthouse campus renovation.

The 22-month campus renovation, just getting under way, has already severely limited parking, as construction crews work where a majority of the county's 250 courthouse employees once parked.

With the construction, the courthouse's south parking lot has been fenced off, Millburn said. He said he does not know the exact number of stalls lost as a result of the crews closing the south parking lot, but does know closing the lot has eliminated more than half of the available courthouse parking -- leaving only 92 parking stalls on the east side of the building.

Because of the project, which involves razing four structures and building three new ones, Millburn said, courthouse employees are being asked to take the bus to work.

"The biggest focus will be to maintain what parking remains for the public and patrons visiting the courthouse," he said.

At a cost of $17,000, the county bought 250 UTA passes in December for its Farmington campus workers, and virtually all those passes have been disseminated, Davis County Personnel Director Mel Miles said.

"It could be a lifesaver for us during the construction phase. We have got to reserve what parking spaces are left for our citizens," Miles said.

Hopefully, there will be other dividends with courthouse employees taking the bus, he said, such as less traffic congestion and beneficial changes for the environment.

"Some of our employees have already reacted very positively to the passes," he said.

Farmington has been gracious in offering its City Hall parking to county workers who need to drive to work so they can attend a meeting or an appointment or for some other reason, Miles said.

But county workers must not abuse the city's offer, said Miles, who intends to ride the bus on a regular basis.

"It is going to take some cooperation," Miles said.

County workers just have to recognize that the inconvenience will be temporary, while the buildings to be constructed will serve the county in the long term, he said.

The project consists of a new library, a children's justice center and a three-story administration office.

The administration office will be 90,000 square feet, sharing meeting space with a new 18,000-square-foot library, said Barry Burton, project manager and Davis County director of planning.

The children's justice center is to be built east of where the current children's justice center is at 125 S. Main in Farmington, Burton said.

The new center will be 9,400 square feet, of which 6,500 square feet will be finished space, he said.

"It will definitely be a project that will change the face of Farmington and the county campus," Millburn said.

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