WAUSAU, WI (WSAU) - Marathon County is continuing to explore future space needs. The Executive Committee discussed possible courthouse construction and renovations that would not only handle department space requirements over the long term, but would increase safety and security. County Administrator Brad Karger says the committee has narrowed the options down to two choices. He says they will have to examine both choices closely before making a recommendation to the full county board.
The proposed renovation would add on the the west and east of the existing courthouse building, and tear down the oldest part of the building to the south. Karger says choosing the best option does not mean construction anytime soon. "The price tags on both are very high. That's why we're taking a very long view of this. Even though nothing's likely to happen in the next three to five years." He adds, "When we make a decision to expand the courts or we make a decision to expand the jail, this is how we're going to do it.”One of the Marathon County space challenges is the overcrowding in the jail. Karger is optimistic they can find ways to avoid jail expansion. "I'm hoping that in twenty-five years, we won't have to expand the jail at all, and that we can provide effective alternatives to incarceration that will work and will change criminal behavior early on so that jail expansion is not necessary.”
The price tag for options “2” and “2-A” now being considered is between 65 and 70 million dollars. That’s without adding on to the jail. The main difference in the plans is "2-A" would have everything on the present courthouse location with a four story structure. Option "2" would have courts and security sensitive departments in three floors of the present site, and all non-secure departments in a separate building nearby.
You can listen to the entire WSAU interview with Brad Karger by clicking on the application above.