Acquiring new software may eliminate the need to convene large juries in the Wichita County courthouse.
The county has traditionally convened jury pools at the 30th District Court or, more recently, an MPEC room for pretrial screening before trials.
The possibility of using the software rather than human livestock calls came to light Friday during a meeting where county commissioners attempted to get a scrutiny over present and future improvements at the county courthouse and annex.
The commissioners had considered creating a large space on the fourth floor of the courthouse for jury pools.
But Commissioner Mark Beauchamp said he learned Thursday that a new module for the county’s Odyssey software could eliminate the need for space.
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Traditionally, juror pools met in the 30th District Court, the largest of the courthouse’s three district courtrooms. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the county began leasing space at the MPEC Exhibit Hall for judging pools.
If the meeting space was no longer needed, it would save approximately $2.6 million in projected construction costs and save approximately $75,000 on furnishings.
The county undertook approximately $5.27 million in improvement projects at the Courthouse and $3.16 million at the Annex Building at Sixth Street and Scott Avenue.
The courthouse project, made possible when the jail and sheriff’s office moved into the new Law Enforcement Center, involves remodeling significant spaces, reproducing musical chairs with an array of offices, and replacing aging elevators.
The annex projects include both internal and external renovations.
Future plans not included in current budgets include rebuilding the 78th and 89th District Courthouses at a cost of $3.2 million each and renovating the 30th District Courthouse at approximately $2.2 million.
Funding for the extensive renovation projects will come from $25.6 million Wichita County received from the federal government in COVID-19 relief money.
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