The Santa Rosa County Board of County Commissioners, Ajax Building Company, Sam Marshall Architects and HOK celebrated a groundbreaking for the future Santa Rosa County Courthouse this morning on Avalon Boulevard in Milton. “I am excited to see construction begin on the new Santa Rosa County Courthouse," said Commission Chairman Sam Parker, District 1. "This will provide a more secure courthouse than our existing one, in a convenient location for easy accessibility with ample parking. The new building will serve the citizens of our county for the next one hundred years."Vice Chairman Don Salter spoke of the history of the Santa Rosa County Courthouse and the significance of this important project which has been years in the making. The current courthouse was opened July 4, 1927. First Judicial Circuit Chief Judge John Miller thanked the board of county commissioners for their vision and commitment to providing this new facility to serve Santa Rosa County residents now and into the future. He also highlighted the many functions and roles a courthouse plays in the community. "When people think of a courthouse, they think of court proceedings and trials. Actually there are a lot of happy things that happen in a courthouse… adoption proceedings… marriages licenses… A courthouse is a place of beginnings." The project will consist of a three-story county courthouse of approximately 110,000 gross square feet as the first building in the Santa Rosa County Judicial Complex situated on 19 acres. The master site plan provides for future additions to the courthouse and two additional administrative office buildings to house the county court support services (state attorney, public defender, guardian ad litem, and probation). The new courthouse includes seven courtrooms, eight judge’s suites and all the necessary court support services including secure holding for inmates, hearing rooms, a law library, evidence rooms, jury selection and jury deliberation spaces. Additionally, the Clerk of Courts services currently provided in the courthouse will be accommodated in the new facility along with conference rooms and meeting space for the state attorney and public defender offices. The site will include on-site parking and three stormwater retention ponds. The design-build team led by Ajax brings 61 years of experience with more than 120 public entity clients and 40 public safety projects totaling over $300 million. Site work and construction are expected to start after the first of the new year.