The Santa Rosa County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC), Clerk of Courts, county judges and other distinguished guests celebrated the ribbon cutting of the new courthouse today, Wed., Aug. 17. The new Santa Rosa County Courthouse is located at 4025 Avalon Blvd. in Milton.
"When I was first elected, I began teaming up with my fellow commissioners on what was then an idea to replace the aging courthouse," said Commission Chairman Robert A. "Bob" Cole, District 2. "As the years passed and the conditions of the existing courthouse continued to deteriorate, the need for a new courthouse never changed. Thank you to Ajax, Sam Marshall Architects and HOK for building this state-of-the-art modern judicial facility that will serve our citizens for generations to come."
Many current and former judges were in attendance, including former Judge Colie Nichols, Jr. who stated in his remarks, "I am honored to be here on this glorious day when we open the new Santa Rosa County Courthouse. It is the culmination of a long and difficult journey going back 20 years. This beautiful building was secured by the tremendous effort, assistance and dedication of many people."
"My nearly 30 years in the current courthouse just seems like a snapshot," said Honorable Judge C. Robert Hilliard. "When this new courthouse fully opens, it will be the most technologically advanced courthouse in the country and is designed to securely serve our citizens with everything from adoptions to last wills and testaments and all that befalls us in the life that comes in between."
The current courthouse located in Downtown Milton was opened July 4, 1927 and remodeled in 1961 with modular buildings added on in 2008 to accommodate growth. The new courthouse on Avalon Boulevard consists of a three-story building, approximately 110,000 square feet, situated on 19 acres. This location will allow for future additions 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.
"I am thankful for Commissioner Cole and former commissioner, Don Salter, for the work they also put in to making this courthouse a reality," said Commissioner Sam Parker, District 1. "We are continuing to move projects forward to improve our community and this facility is a true testament to that fact."
"This courthouse will meet the needs of its people for decades to come," said Donald C. Spencer, Santa Rosa County Clerk of Court and Comptroller. "It will be a pillar for Santa Rosa County. The old courthouse was used for almost 100 years and this new courthouse will last at least that long. I thank the BOCC for getting this courthouse built and I also thank the citizens of Santa Rosa County for their support."
The Clerk of Courts services currently provided in the courthouse will be accommodated in the new facility along with conference rooms and meeting spaces for the state attorney and public defender offices. The courthouse is expected to fully open in late September.
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