Masterton courthouse to get $3.5m rebuild
EMPLOYMENT AND JUSTICE REPORTER
The Masterton courthouse will get a complete refit when earthquake strengthening work begins in September, but the future of its Feilding and Upper Hutt counterparts is uncertain.
A tender document published by the Justice Ministry shows construction is expected to be finished by March and cost about $3.5 million.
Masterton, along with Upper Hutt, Feilding, Rangiora, Oamaru and Balclutha courts, was closed after being found to be less than 30 per cent of the building code standards.
Since the closures, court work has been transferred to other centres, with Upper Hutt moving to Lower Hutt and Feilding to Palmerston North. Temporary facilities have been established in Masterton.
Along with strengthening to 100 per cent of the building code, the Masterton building will get new public counters and toilets, a new bail room, a new defendants' dock and an expanded waiting area.
Walls, floors and ceilings will be demolished but the tender notes that the doors should be salvaged. The building will be re-roofed and a new holding cell and secure interview room constructed.
But the future of the Feilding and Upper Hutt courthouses looks less certain.
Courts Minister Chester Borrows recently announced courtroom measures including Skype and "online judges".
The move to a more digital approach would mean changes, and the demolition of the Feilding courthouse was not out of the question, he said.
District courts general manager Tony Fisher said the Masterton, Dunedin and Christchurch courthouses were the priorities.
About $10m had already been spent on the latter and options for the other closed courts would be considered towards the end of the year.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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