District Courtroom Back in Business

New carpeting and richly stained walls just part of the remodeling done in the 4th Judicial District Courtroom.
New carpeting and richly stained walls just part of the remodeling done in the 4th Judicial District Courtroom.

For the first time in several months, the 4th Judicial District Court held their sessions back in the newly remodeled 3rd floor District Courtroom in the new section of the Sheridan County Courthouse. Sheridan Media's Mary Jo Johnson has more.

At first glance, it doesn't look like a whole lot has changed in the courtroom -- the layout of the judge's bench, jury box, placement of the attorneys' tables, the bar and the gallery are all the same.

But look closer, and you'll see a refreshing new carpet and reupholstered gallery benches in shades of sage green instead of '70's orange and worn out red. The all-wood walls have been re-stained a richer and warmer walnut color. And the jury box seating has been replaced with ergonomically designed chairs.

The acoustics in the courtroom are much better, with the judge controlling microphone levels from his bench, and on top of each of the attorneys' tables, a centrally-located computer outlet pops up for them to hook up laptops. New electronic bells and whistles have brought the courtroom into the 21st Century, too, in that a high-tech overhead projector and screen can be used to better present visual evidence.

Outside the courtroom, the hallways have been re-carpeted and painted; access to Judge Fenn's court administrator's office and his chambers have been reconfigured in a more secure floorplan, and the jury deliberation room has received new carpet, paint, and now has two bathrooms.

Still to be done is installation of the new security system and lighting within the courtroom. Brighter and more modern lights will replace the old fluorescent system; however, contractors estimate that about three days will be needed for that project, so a date remains to be established for full completion. Also, the Clerk of District Court's office and work on the hallway ceiling are also not fully complete, but overall, the remodel is coming to a welcome end -- on the 3rd floor anyway. Workers are now busy on the 4th floor, access to which is closed to the public.

Reporting for sheridanmedia.com news, I'm Mary Jo Johnson.

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