CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Kanawha County Commission is advancing with plans for a significant renovation at the Kanawha County Judicial Building.

Architects unveiled their latest designs for the project at last week’s commission meeting.

The building’s expansion is needed in order to make room for the arrival of three new magistrates and one new circuit judge to the county. Silling says they have planned out the work of the project to make sure the courts can remain fully operational during construction.

The project is also planned to include an expanded public entry section with proper security screening, a new second floor jury assembly suite and six new courtrooms and office space to the first floor Magistrate Court area.

Also, there’s plans for a new courtroom for Circuit Court, as well as a jury deliberation suite and judge’s chambers on the 5th floor.

For the Family Court, the plans include a more secure defendant holding area a new staff elevator within the existing parking garage for the judicial staff.

A representative with Silling Architects told commissioners Thursday that they came to a consensus with Kanawha County Sheriff Mike Rutherford and Chief Deputy Joe Crawford on space planning too.

Silling said they have met with the sheriff’s department, magistrates and circuit and family court judges to get feedback from them about the proposals in the project and to hear their ideas on things they want included in the renovations.

“We’ve enjoyed meeting with them, getting to know them and getting their responses,” Driggs said.

Commission President Lance Wheeler said he spoke with court officials and the sheriff’s department too. Their feedback about their meetings with Silling have also been positive.

“They have all said it’s been a pleasure working with you,” Wheeler said.

Silling has been planning out the project for the past few months now. They originally proposed three different floor plans and eventually decided to go with a hybrid plan involving aspects from a few of their proposed plans.

The company is currently projecting that the renovation and expansion project will cost $13.5 million. There are also contingencies built into the project’s budget of about $2 million.

Silling said they plan to put the project out to bid as early as August. Commissioners want to meet with them again over the summer.

“We don’t know the true cost until we put it out to bid,” said Salango, who was appreciate of how Silling has conducted business over the past few months.

“I appreciate the experience you guys bring to this,” he said. “You’ve done so many of these, you’ve made this easy.”

The next step for Silling involves taking a soil sample and conducting a survey for planning and zoning of the area. They are also required to meet with the West Virginia Supreme Court to break down the project.