Officials break ground on new Livingston Parish Courthouse

LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - The new courthouse in Livingston Parish won't be ready for court until late next summer, around July 2014. Construction crews have been busy at the courthouse site, located behind the parish council's office in the Town of Livingston. Even with only steel beams up, some of the judges in the 21st Judicial District say it's already an improvement over what they currently have.

In fact, some leaders call the courthouse badly needed.

Many refer to the current courthouse, on Iowa Street, as the old Livingston Parish Courthouse. Old because the building has been there since 1941. Over the years, the building has been added to and patched up. Across the street, an old church and a basketball court have been renovated and are used as the courthouse annex because there's no more room in the main building.

Judge Bruce Bennett says the old courthouse has run it's course.

Wednesday, parish leaders met to break ground on the new courthouse, though construction has been underway for some time.

Most say what this new 20 million dollar building will address concerns about space, it will also address security issues.

"There are 13 public entrances to the old courthouse, which makes it a security nightmare," said Judge Bennett.

When the new courthouse is complete, visitors will have one entrance to file in and out of. They will also pass through a metal detector before heading to the courtrooms, of which there are five. There is also space for 11 judges chambers as well.

The courthouse will be the fourth one built in Livingston Parish. The first was built back in 1835 in Springfield.

$17.2 million in bonds will be repaid by filing fees.

Copyright 2013 WAFB. All rights reserved.