Jefferson City Courthouse Opens

Judge Laughrey's Quote
Dedication Ceremony
Senators Bond and Blunt along with Western District judges cut the ribbon.
Senators Bond and Blunt along with Western District judges cut the ribbon.
 
On Sept. 27, 2011, the Western District celebrated the dedication of the Christopher S. Bond Courthouse and completion of construction ahead of schedule and under budget. Senators Bond and Blunt along with Western District judges cut the ribbon and welcomed visitors to the new facility. During the dedication ceremony, community leaders joined the judges to honor Senator Bond for his efforts to bring a new courthouse to mid-Missouri. In his welcoming remarks, Chief District Judge Fernando J. Gaitan Jr. recalled how the project progressed from ideas to drawings to models and finally to a new building. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey thanked former Congressman Ike Skelton for his assistance as well as the many General Services Administration project members, JE Dunn Construction and court leaders such as Paige Wymore-Wynn, Brad Luecke and Laura Bax.
Seal

The courthouse sits on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River with a view of the Missouri Capitol building and is adjacent to the former Missouri State Penitentiary. Designed to stand for at least 100 years, the courthouse features limestone panels laminated to pre-cast concrete on the exterior with terrazzo floors and granite and marble in the interior. The building includes numerous sustainability features that produce a 28 percent increase in energy efficiency and reduction of water usage by 40 percent. The building’s two-story atrium has a green roof that uses plants and soil for insulation and to control rainwater. For trial attorneys, the new courtrooms include state-of-the-art audio visual equipment, but the layout also creates an intimate setting where counsel is close to both witnesses and jurors.

The court seal is displayed prominently on the floor as visitors enter the building with the inscription “Let Justice Flow Like a River,” and Judge Laughrey noted how it serves as a daily reminder to lawyers, judges, litigants and jurors visiting the new building. As the judicial liaison for the project along with Senior District Judge Dean Whipple, Laughrey kidded about the cramped quarters of the post office building and applauded how the new facility and its plentiful parking will better serve the public as well as employees. She thanked all taxpayers for making the building possible and the many laborers who contributed to the effort.

Eighth Circuit judges and Western District judges pledge their allegiance. Senior District Judge Scott O. Wright and former law clerk Marsha Fischer
Eighth Circuit judges and
Western District judges pledge their allegiance.
Senior District Judge Scott O. Wright
and former law clerk Marsha Fischer


Attorney Preview

On Sept. 8, 2011, the Court hosted a bar reception to give Central Division attorneys a preview of the new courthouse and courtroom technology. Attendees enjoyed food from local catering company G2 Gallery and the fine musical talents of a quartet from the Jefferson City High School orchestra.

After a welcome from District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey, guests were invited on guided tours of the building, visiting the U.S. Attorney’s Office, judges’ chambers, the Clerk’s Office, the Probation and Pretrial Services Office and the courthouse terraces overlooking a view of the Missouri River. A short demonstration of the courtroom audio-visual and evidence display equipment was also provided.

District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey speaks to the bar.
District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey speaks to the bar.

Representative Chris Kelly,
Chief District Judge
Fernando J. Gaitan Jr.,
Missouri Supreme Court
Justice Mary R. Russell
and former Missouri
Supreme Court Chief
Justice Ann Covington
Representative Chris Kelly, Chief District Court Judge Fernando J. Gaitan Jr., Missouri Supreme Court Justice Mary R. Russell and former Missouri Supreme Court Justice Ann Covington


Business as Usual


Even prior to the official dedication, the new Jefferson City courthouse was up and running─opening its doors for business on Monday, Aug. 22, 2011. Courthouse employees worked diligently to ensure there was no disruption in service to the public during the quick transition, and District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey and Magistrate Judge Matt Whitworth both held court the opening week. Judge Laughrey presided over the first jury trial on Sept. 6, 2011.

The project began in March 1999, following a Congressional request to correct security and space issues in the existing court facility and to consolidate federal agencies into one building. Groundbreaking was held on Oct. 24, 2008, and construction took just under three years to complete.

Jefferson City Clerk's Office staff
Central Division Clerk’s Office Team:
Tania Lock, Jackie Price, Jeri Russel, Laura Bax and Carrie James
Magistrate Judge Matt Whitworth on the bench for his first hearing in the new courthouse.
Jefferson City Operations Manager Laura Bax noted that her team is finally getting settled and that they are eager for members of the bar to visit. Those wishing to schedule group tours are welcome to contact her office at 573-636-4015. The courthouse address has changed, but the Clerk’s Office staff is ready, willing, and able to help attorneys negotiate the new surroundings.
Magistrate Judge Matt Whitworth on the bench
for his first hearing in the new courthouse.

Jefferson City Courthouse

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