Claremore Daily Progress

April 16, 2013

Moving Day: County begins relocation to new courthouse

Salesha Wilken
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE —

Rogers County Commissioners and county road crews marked the historic opening of the new courthouse Monday as they began moving the first pallet of boxes into the building.
Officials recalled the groundbreaking event on May 4, 2011 and celebrated the completion of such a large project.
“It’s a major accomplishment for the people of Rogers County to build this structure,”  Rogers County Commissioner Dan DeLozier said at the groundbreaking.
His words ring true today as the building stands tall and proud in downtown Claremore.
 About 65 feet tall and 102,000 square feet, the courthouse features a glass-and-column facade climbing all four stories, brick and limestone-like cement walls, a grand staircase and large lobby.
Visitors will be welcomed into the building by a large county map engraved in the stone floor.
The anticipated cost of construction was $22 million; however, Rogers County Commissioner Kirt Thacker reports the project has been completed under budget for approximately $19 million.
Rogers County now joins a series of new courthouse construction projects in Northeast Oklahoma.
BLK, the firm that designed the building, has also designed courthouses in Ottawa, Craig and Mayes counties.
Increased safety is just one aspect of the building operations that will be a change for visitors.
Employees will have key cards to access offices. The public will still have access, however, it will not be on the same basis as the previous facility.
“In the new building there are certain secure access areas,” Thacker said.
“The cards are to keep employees where they are suppose to be and the public where they are suppose to be,” Rogers County Commissioner Mike Helm said.
In order to maintain the security, the cards will be issued and usage tracked.
If someone uses that card in an unauthorized way, the administration will be able to see each area of the courthouse that has been accessed, according to the commissioners.
The commissioners spent a lot of money on security and each card is like a fingerprint, according to Assistant District Attorney David Iski.
The commissioner’s administrative assistant, Christine Day,  will be supervising the cards.
If a card is lost or stolen, employees will be obligated to inform Day immediately, to protect the integrity of the security system.
The commissioners approved a fee for lost cards to help lower cost and encourage employee accountability.
Lost or stolen cards can be deactivated immediately once it is turned in to administration.
The courthouse will have other security features including x-ray scanners and courthouse security officers.
Additionally, every phone line in the courthouse will have the capability to record conversations.
This recording feature was made by special request by law enforcement and the Rogers County District Attorney, according to courthouse staff.
Security is not the only added feature and in the coming weeks the commissioners will be organizing an open house event to showcase the new functions as well as the beauty of the new facilities.