Eastern Jackson County Courthouse 'Gavel In' Ceremony

Gavel In Ceremony

Construction crews might have used mallets during the renovations to the Eastern Jackson County Courthouse in Independence. County officials and judges from the 16th Circuit Court used a similar tool to commemorate the courthouse's reopening Thursday -- gavels -- as the 13-month construction project will be completed at year's end.

"Once again we've taken an older facility and made it new again," Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders declared after the "gavel in" ceremony.

To handle the increasing number of cases being filed in the eastern part of the county, the courthouse needed to be remodeled to create five additional courtrooms. Using existing revenues, the county incurred no new debt to fund the $7.3 million project. Other changes to the Eastern Jackson County Courthouse, originally built in 1956 and last remodeled in 1972, included building a new accessible entry, installing a new elevator, refurbishing the existing elevator and upgrading the heating, cooling and security systems.

"On behalf of the 16th Circuit, we thank Mike Sanders for recognizing the problem and collaborating with us to build a better courthouse," said the court's Presiding Judge, Justine Del Muro. 

When the Historic Truman Courthouse reopened on Independence Square in 2013 after a multi-year full restoration, the county moved several of its offices there. That freed up space just a few blocks away in the Eastern Jackson County Courthouse to accommodate the new courtrooms.

"Thirteen months ago we broke ground to begin these vital renovations," Sanders said.  "With the support of the County Legislature we once again completed a much needed project with current revenues, on time and under budget.

"In the process we’ve assured cases filed in Eastern Jackson County can be heard in Eastern Jackson County—and in a timely fashion to keep the legal system’s wheels turning."

Thurday's ceremony also included two of Del Muro's predecessors as presiding judge: Judge Marco Roldan, who continues to serve on the bench for the 16th Circuit, and Stephen Nixon, who has served as Jackson County Counselor since 2011 after retiring as a judge.

Eastern Jackson County Courthouse Courtroom
One of five new courtrooms

5 New Courtrooms
• Level One
> Associate Circuit Courtroom (seating for 80)
> Circuit Courtroom (seating for 56)
> Municipal Courtroom/Jury Assembly (seating for 236)

• Level Two
> Circuit Courtroom (seating for 82)

• Level Three
> Associate Circuit Courtroom for probate (seating for 70)

Facade Upgrades
• New accessible entry
• New stair tower
• New elevator/rehab of existing elevator 

Interior Upgrades
• Increased security screening capacity
• Interior finish upgrades
• Civil records relocated to first floor
• Expanded jury room, with double the square footage and capacity
• All restrooms will be refurbished, with a family restroom being added on second floor of the building

HVAC Upgrades
• Replace & add additional heating/cooling systems

Eastern Jackson County Courthouse