Thursday, October 25, 2007
By SUE WATSON
Marshall County’s new courtroom in the former Miller building was dedicated Monday with everyone from law and court officials, attorneys, elected officials and their clerks and the builders present. All total about 50 were in attendance.
Judges Roberts, Lackey, Howorth and Elliott, Cunningham and Brown were in attendance as well as assistant district attorney Lani Hill.
Gary Adams, pastor of BridgeWay Baptist Church in Mt. Pleasant, dedicated the courtroom with prayer asking that God’s justice prevail.
Circuit Clerk Lucy Carpenter, who is credited with long years of diligently seeking a means for the new court space, was asked to speak first.
“I kind of feel like this is my baby,” she said. “It took a long time to make this a reality and credit is due to the board of supervisors, Larry Hall who helped with the design and selection of wall and floor coverings, and to Bill Kivelle, the guy walking around here with the long hair, all the helpers and inmates.”
Kivelle has served as supervisor of special projects for building and grounds and oversaw the project from start to finish.
“We all will enjoy this and it is something the citizens of Marshall County can all be proud of,” Carpenter said.
County administrator Larry Hall called the renovation of the Miller Building “a challenge.”
“The courthouse expansion was being considered and the architect, Belinda Stewart, was being consulted,” Hall said. “Then the board of supervisors decided the county would do this. I did get to pick out the colors (floor and wall coverings) - the main reason because Bill Kivelle is color blind.
“Lots of things clicked. The benches are from the Michigan prison system. All we lack is a clock and jury seats. A good committee of judges and people of the court had input. It was a team effort.”
Circuit court judge Henry Lackey expressed appreciation from the standpoint of the court.
“People who come to court expect a place that lends credit to them and the people because in this courtroom peoples’ rights and privileges are adjusted,” he said. “I thank Lucy Carpenter for fanning the flames and keeping the plan alive until its completion.”
Chancery court judge Ed Roberts also thanked the board of supervisors and apologized for fussing for more courtroom space.
“I thank the board of supervisors,” he said. “You had six judges trying to use one courtroom. Now we don’t.”
He praised Bill Kivelle “for a magnificent effort.”
Attorney John Dolan of Olive Branch echoed the importance of quality space in court proceedings.
“An attractive space is not just important for court personnel, but for the litigants and witnesses,” he said.
The courtroom lends an atmosphere of respect and that contributes to respect for the law, he said.
“Also, having a clean and fresh environment improves everyone’s ability to work effectively,” Dolan said. “And it presents an image to visitors that Marshall County is moving forward. That’s a good thing.”
Much of the craftsmanship going into the building belongs to Kivelle, John Seldon, Anthony Faulkner and John Hardin - all employed with the county building and grounds.
Carpenter said official business has already been conducted in the new space with the convening of the grand jury in the courtroom on October 8.
Hill added that eight additional weeks of circuit court will be scheduled in Marshall County in 2008 with the extra availability of space.
The new courtroom has all the modern conveniences and state-of-the-art technology, she said.
Judge Andrew Howorth is working to get additional funding for the court system.
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