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What you need to know for 10/20/2017

Schenectady County seeks more room for court, judges

Schenectady County seeks more room for court, judges

Schenectady County could get a new courtroom, down the street from all the others.

Schenectady County could get a new courtroom, down the street from all the others.

Court officials are working on a proposal to put three judge’s chambers and a new courtroom at the Schaffer Heights building at the corner of Nott Terrace and Eastern Avenue, on the second floor of the taller building, according to Vito Caruso, the administrative judge for the Fourth Judicial District.

The three chambers and courtroom would be on the second floor of the building, taking space already leased by the county, Caruso said.

The problem has been a lack of space at the main courthouse, Caruso said.

Both the chambers space and the courtroom are needed, he said.

“I’m excited about that. We really need new courtroom space in Schenectady,” Caruso said.

Caruso’s office has been out of the courthouse for about three years now. Now, two new state Supreme Court justices have been seated with no justices moving out.

That’s left the new justices Christine Clark and Thomas Buchanan needing permanent space.

Clark is currently in her old family court chambers, which should soon be taken by her eventual replacement. Buchanan’s law clerk and secretary are now in the same room in the courthouse, Caruso said.

“We really had no room to fit anybody up there,” Caruso said.

Caruso’s administrative chambers would also be moved into the new space, he said. The proposed location is just under a half mile from the courthouse.

Costs and design are still being sorted out, Caruso said. He expects the plan to go before the county Legislature in the coming weeks, with aim to have the new space running this summer.

“Now it’s kind of in the hands of the county,” Caruso said.

Lack of space at the current courthouse has been an issue for some time. A plan a decade ago to build a new courthouse faded amid cost concerns. Instead, family court was renovated and expanded in the county office building next to the courthouse. In 2003, a new courthouse was estimated to cost up to $30 million.

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