Anoka County approves contracts for remodeling work

The Anoka County Board has awarded contracts for workstation remodeling in some Anoka County Courthouse courtrooms as well as completing the remodeling of the Anoka County Law Library, which is located in the courthouse.

The board approved a bid from RAK Construction, East Bethel, for the courtroom remodeling work in a not to exceed amount of $96,260.

RAK submitted the only bid and the budget for this project was estimated at $120,000.

Construction Results Corporation, Plymouth, submitted the lowest of four bids in the amount of $14,397 for the law library remodeling. The estimate was $14,500.

Both projects will be paid for from the Anoka County Building Fund.

The courthouse remodeling work will take place in courtrooms 2, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19.

These are only configured for one court clerk, but changes in the way court case processing and distribution of court orders, notices and other documents are handled means that two court clerks are needed in the courtrooms, not one as before, according to Andrew Dykstra, county director of facilities management and construction.

Historically, those tasks have been done by one court clerk and the documents mailed to all case participants, Dykstra wrote in a report to the county board.

But in recent years there has been a shift in case processing and much of this work now takes place in the courtroom itself by the court clerks so participants leave the courtroom with a signed order of notice immediately, he wrote.

An example is a Minnesota Supreme Court mandate that all defendants leave with a signed sentencing orders, Dykstra told the county board.

“The courts expect this trend to continue as their work environment becomes primarily paperless,” he wrote.

To process the high volume of cases and the need to produce orders and notices immediately, court administration has added a second clerk to the courtroom, but clerk work areas in many of the courtrooms are only configured for one staff person prompting the request to expand the clerk work areas in those courtrooms, according to Dykstra.

Under the project timetable, construction in the six courtrooms affected must be completed in three weeks, which means the contractor must finish two rooms each week, Dykstra said.

Work will be staggered over three months – two courtrooms will be done the week of Sept. 3, two more the week of Oct. 28 and the final two courtrooms the week of Nov. 18.

The law library project involves upgrading the existing small media room with computers that is used by the public.

“The volume of public use has made this room antiquated,” Dykstra wrote.

The remodeling project will move and expand the public computer system from the media room to an area that now houses the compact storage system, which will be shifted to another area of the law library, according to Dykstra.

“As most Anoka County residents cannot afford to hire private attorneys, the law library stands prepared to offer assistance, without practicing law, to help them access our legal system,” Dykstra wrote in his report.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]