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Is this Joplin's future new county courts building? - KOAM TV 7

Is this Joplin's future new county courts building?

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Proposed new courts building and nearby juvenile center Proposed new courts building and nearby juvenile center
Current courts building Current courts building
Proposed new courts building and nearby juvenile center Proposed new courts building and nearby juvenile center
Joplin, MO -

On the market right now are two buildings with a furnished outside, complete with decorative landscaping, sidewalks, a driveway, and parking spaces.  A developer, Rodney Spriggs with RKS Development, wants to partner with Jasper County to renovate a couple of these buildings.

 "The options are still being explored, but right now, that seems to be a relatively good location," says Joplin attorney Scott Vorhees.

It's a location near 32nd and Connecticut, a spot that Vorhees and others say would accommodate two Jasper County entities.  The county courts building would move from Pearl Street to a three-story building, and the county juvenile center would move to a two-story building from its old location, near the current courts building.

Vorhees says the juvenile center has so many safety hazards, juveniles have to be transported back and forth from Springfield.

"Unfortunately, we've known that this was coming for a while.  We knew that that detention center was going to have to have either upgrades and improvements, remodels,or we wouldn't be able to use it.  And now, its come to a crisis point.  We have to do something now," says Vorhees.

Vorhees says the current courts building also includes safety hazards, with prisoners using stairs and elevators with the public.

So that's where the building complex and 32nd and Connecticut comes back into the picture.  It's already built, which Vorhees says would save some money.  And needing more space would not be an issue, with the third floor of the proposed courts building renovated later, as demands grew.

But moving there would still come with a big cost:  $13 million to buy the two buildings, $2.8 million to renovate the juvenile detention building, and $6.2 million to renovate the courts building.

Nearby neighbors we talked to didn't want to be interviewed on camera, but most were against the idea of having criminals near their children.  One resident, though, said the the presence of those criminals would come more police presence.  

Vorhees says bottom line:  Whether the move comes to the two buildings or elsewhere, the move has to happen.

"We don't want to patch.  We don't want to remodel.  We don't want to continue to have this lets stop the crisis now, so that we're dealing with a crisis in the future," says Vorhees.

The costs mentioned to renovate the insides of the two buildings do not include furnishings, just things like security features, doors, and building court rooms.  Talks about moving the courts building and juvenile detention center will continue indefinitely, but it's important to note that these are just preliminary talks and plans. 

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