By Noah Haglund Herald Writer
EVERETT — The flags are ready to go up at the new Everett Municipal Courthouse this afternoon.
Court operations are set to close at 2:30 p.m. for a short public ceremony at 3 p.m.
“The flags will be over the courthouse then and that’s the last of the official things we needed to do,” court administrator Katie Traenkenschuh said.
The new courthouse at Pacific and Wetmore avenues has been up and running since mid-December, though construction didn’t finish until May.
For months, judges, staff and the public went about their business as work continued around them. The old court building was torn down, probation offices were built and a courtyard was constructed.
Probation staff, previously working a few blocks away, moved in last month.
Including parking tickets, the court processes about 40,000 municipal cases per year.
In the old building, courtrooms often were so packed that people stood outside in the hall, waiting for judges to call their names. The court was limited to one jury trial a day because there was only one small jury deliberation room.
The City Council in 2011 approved building the new courthouse northwest of the old building. Work on the $8.4 million project began later that year.
“We were cramped in there,” Traenkenschuh said. “Now we have (two) courtrooms where we can accommodate 100 people. So now we feel like we can do whatever we need to.”
The 17,000-square-foot courthouse is three times larger than the old one. Technological upgrades allow video arraignments for defendants booked in the jail, eliminating the inconvenience of shuffling them to and from the lockup.
City officials said they have made security improvements with surveillance cameras and updated metal detectors. There are holding cells and secured entrances for inmates.
Tuesday’s opening event is to include Mayor Ray Stephanson and the Police Color Guard along with Municipal Court Judges Timothy O’Dell and David Mitchell. The ribbon-cutting originally was planned in the courtyard, but will be moved inside the lobby if the rainy forecast holds true.
Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465, firstname.lastname@example.org.