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Contract awarded for Civic Center courtrooms in Great Falls

Posted at 9:46 PM, Mar 19, 2024

GREAT FALLS — The Missouri Room on the second floor of the Civic Center in downtown Great Falls is usually reserved for weddings or big ceremonies. Come this summer, it will be turned into better courtrooms for the municipal court.

“This will be one of the only renovations or upgrades to the court space that has really ever happened,” said Sylvia Tarman, project manager at the Civic Center for the city of Great Falls. “It will be very good to get this functionality for our court staff and for the public who use the court.”

In 2022, voters approved an amendment to the city charter that allowed for the appointment of a second municipal judge.

When the city of Great Falls received federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, upgrading the court was a clear and top priority.

The project was taken to the City Commission, and it was recommended that the Missouri Room be the home of the new courtrooms.

At the city commission meeting on Tuesday, a contract of $2,198,175 was awarded from the ARPA funds to Wadsworth Builders for the project.

“We have been working with a designer and architect for a couple of months now,” said Tarman, “So we have final designs. The bid for actual construction went out in January and it was opened on March six.”

The current courtroom is small and narrow, and there is not a lot of room for the jury, prosecution, or defense. Those who work with the court also have inconvenient office locations. The new courtrooms aim to fix these problems.

“This renovation will get us up to two very functional courtrooms,” said Tarman, “There'll be plenty of room for the juries. They each have a jury room. And then at more adequate court space or office space for the court staff.”

Wadsworth Builders will also be working on an HVAC project at the Civic Center. With the additional bid, they can now do both at the same time. The city is expecting a mid-to-late-summer start for construction.

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