KEYC - Steele County Courthouse Still Undergoing Renovations

Steele County Courthouse Still Undergoing Renovations

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OWATONNA, Minn. -

Last January a sprinkler pipe broke at the Steele County Courthouse in Owatonna. Since then, it's been going through repairs and renovations.

While most of the offices and courtrooms are still relocated, the second floor where the pipe burst is fixed up and back open.

"This floor really is, for the most part, fully functional and usable," court administrator Robin Hoesley said.

Instead of just fixing the water damage, the county commissioners saw an opportunity to move forward with other projects while the courthouse is operating out of another building.

Courtroom B is now in use with a redesigned clerk station and better technology. Some other projects include a new space for court administration, an additional courtroom, as well as a redesign for Judge Karen Duncan's courtroom, something the judge is looking forward to.

"The time that we spend traveling, or the time that we spend trying to reconfigure and make things work in places that were never designed to be courtrooms, or aren't designed to hold the number of people we need to have in there for hearings, inhibits our ability to do our work," Duncan said.

However, she said the traveling isn't all that bad, because it means a better courthouse when it's all done.

"We're very thankful to the commissioners for being able to endure this process and being open-minded about how to take what was a disaster and turn it into something that's going to be a long-term benefit for the people here," she said.

Administration plans to be back into the courthouse by the start of December. The rest of the courtrooms are expected to be done by February.

--KEYC News 12