Newton County Commissioners Purchase New Building - KOAM TV 7

Newton County Commissioners Purchase New Building

The Newton County Courthouse that sits in the middle of the Downtown Neosho Square might soon have a little bit more free space inside thanks to a decision made by county commissioners.

Newton County Commissioners Marilyn Ruestman and Alan Cook want to make their mark in newton county on their first big project has county commissioners, the purchase of a building, which could be their new home.

"Years ago they built the new sheriff's building, and they've done large bridges throughout the county. So this is kind of our first big project." Commissioner Alan Cook says.
Commissioner Marilyn Ruestman continues to say "we were very very cramped in our court building, which was built in the early 1900's. It's a great building, but we wanted to stay on the square. And we love being on the square in a small town."
The Smith Insurance building has been vacant for over a year, the two story building consists of offices as well as apartment units.
"There's a lot of reusable, and purposed items that we can use. The offices, the layout...they are large, they can be filled for cubicles, just a lot of potential." Cook explains.

As the building went up for sale, commissioners had their eye on the property, but could not afford the original price.
Now a year later, negotiations have been completed and the 16,800 square foot building was purchased for $500,000.

"We've kind of been saving for a rainy day, and a new building I think could be considered a rainy day. So we have been able to pay for the building." Ruestman says.
Commissioners are looking at two options for the new location, possibly housing elected officials offices in a government building type setting, or creating a judicial center for court cases, but they say it will take some time.
"We are not going to move real fast on this project, but we really do want to do it right." Ruestman says.

The next step for commissioners is interviewing potential architects, which will begin next week. The county will be able to continue renovations after initial developments are completed. Officials hope to have the new courthouse open and operational by next year, but the another step is searching for a new name.

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