Posted Jan 14, 2010 06:59 pm CST
The cold spell and aging courthouses are a bad combination.
Temperatures dipped to 42 degrees last week at the District Attorney’s office in Okfuskee County, Okla., the Associated Press reports. Courthouse workers wore hats and gloves, and at least one judge closed his office on Thursday. The building, located 75 miles east of Oklahoma City in Okemah, was built in 1926.
“The nation’s courthouses are old and cold,” the story says.
The National Center for State Courts says about 2,500 out of an estimated 16,000 local courthouses across the nation are run-down or in need of significant maintenance for building safety. Improvements are being delayed as counties collect less in taxes, according to the story.
Kevin Bowling, court administrator for Ottawa County in Grand Haven, Mich., told AP that cold courthouses are a challenge in many northern states. “Oftentimes, we find court employees bringing in little space heaters just so their fingers will stay warm enough to type on a computer,” Bowling said. “We work through it the best we can and look forward to summer.”