USDA Rural Development today announced it has approved a $9 million loan to White Pine County to help finance the construction of a new justice center that will include a 38,000-square-foot courthouse and an enclosed and secure area for prisoner intake.
"USDA Rural Development takes community safety seriously, and we are pleased to see White Pine County use Community Facility funds to improve courthouse security," said Herb Shedd, Acting State Director for USDA Rural Development. "Residents as well as county employees will benefit from this move."
The total project cost is estimated to be $17.7 million. White Pine County is contributing $7.55 million and will secure the loan through bond financing from the proceeds of Senate Bill 74, which establishes sales tax revenue dedicated solely to public safety infrastructure. White Pine County financed a USDA 30-year-loan at 3.25 percent. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2018. The Justice Center Project also includes a 72-bed expansion which the County continues to work on funding for through Net Proceeds of Minerals Revenues.
The original courthouse was first built in 1907 and serves six rural White Pine County communities. It houses the 7th Judicial District Court, the County Justice Court, the White Pine County District Attorney and court clerks, as well as offices for elected officials. Its location in the downtown area had caused security concerns. According to District Attorney Michael Wheable, "High security court proceedings should not be held in a location that is in close proximity to the public library, middle school and senior center."
The new Justice Center will be located adjacent to the jail. A new enclosed prisoner intake area, called a sally port, will connect the center and the jail, to enhance security. Once construction is completed, the old courthouse will be used for county administrative offices.
The county has sought funding for a new courthouse since the 1970s. A 2008 United States Marshals report found that the courthouse could not be brought up to national courthouse security standards and should not be used for either civil or criminal court activities.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. With a portfolio of over $220 billion, this agency's assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; homeownership; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/NV.