The City of Hamilton celebrated the opening of its new Justice Center with an open house last week at which citizens got a chance to tour their new facility located at the site of the old National Guard Armory at 910 West Main, that is at the west end of Main Street just across the street from the Bitterroot College.
It was back in December of 2016 that the City of Hamilton placed a bond issue on the ballot to purchase the land occupied at the time by Claudia Driscoll Park and the National Guard Armory building and to make improvements. The bond was passed in March of 2017. Over the course of that year the bonds were issued, and the park land and the Armory building were purchased. A contract for design and construction services was signed with Bechtle Architects and Jackson Contractor Group was awarded the contract for construction management services.
In May of 2018, the property was re-zoned from single family residential to public institutional and in August the council approved a Montana Board of Investment Intercap loan for $1 million to go towards construction costs. In September 2018, the council authorized Jackson Contractor Group to commence with construction of the Justice Center at a maximum price of $2,522,284.
According to Mayor Dominic Farrenkopf, the passage of the bond for the project was driven by the growing need for updated facilities at the city’s public safety agencies. It also presented the opportunity to consolidate all three agencies in close proximity with each other. Having the Police Department, the City Attorney’s office and the City Court in one building makes things a lot easier for the public who often have to deal with all three agencies over a single issue.
The new facility also greatly improved handicapped accessibility and parking for public access to the Police Department and the City Court, something that was sorely needed. It increased evidence and records storage as well as functional office space for the Police Department. It addressed the needs for more secure and private areas to consult with crime victims during court proceedings and improved security for victims, witnesses, staff and public attending court proceedings.
Mayor Farrenkopf, City Judge Michael Reardon and Police Chief Ryan Oster all expressed gratitude for the public support that the City received for building the new facility.