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HomeFeaturesThe Historic Courthouse: Planning for the Future, Borrowing from the Past

The Historic Courthouse: Planning for the Future, Borrowing from the Past

A SusanvilleStuff Feature
by Jim Chapman
Lassen County Supervisor, District 2

Even though the courts have relocated to new quarters, the rest of the county offices at the historic Courthouse remain in place.

There has been much speculation about the future of the old courthouse, especially last week when the project to demolish the old 1970 jail began. This building was vacated in 1990 when the current Adult Detention Facility was built on Sheriff Cady Lane.

The historic 1911 jail is not being demolished. That structure will be preserved and hopefully will be incorporated in the revitalization of courthouse square in the coming years.

Architectural sketch of the proposed courthouse in 1911

The historic Courthouse was first occupied in 1917, and has served the community for almost one hundred years.

If that structure is going to meet the needs of the community for the next 100 years, it will need to be updated in many ways.

It needs a new heating and cooling system. It needs to be made accessible to the disabled. It needs to be reinforced for seismic safety.

We also need to retain its charm and historical significance.

The County has offices scattered around the community that need to be more centralized and efficient, not only for the public, but for the interaction of the various county departments. In order to accomplish that, we need to look at how we can best utilize the historic Courthouse.

Lassen County Courthouse and Jail in 1923

With the departure of the courts, the county now has the opportunity to move ahead and make courthouse square the focal point of county operations. Preserving the old historic 1911 jail, along with the courthouse itself, gives us the basis to accomplish that task.

Demolition of the jail which served Lassen County in the 1970s and 1980s

The removal of the vacated 1970 jail was the first step to open up the southwest corner of the block to give us the space to construct office space that could tie the courthouse, historic old jail and the annex building together.

In this manner we can preserve the historic values of the older buildings, while creating new space that would allow us to unify county services in a more efficient manner. I call this concept the “Isaac Roop Government Center.”

I will be advocating this project move forward in the coming months and years, with the hope of seeing it completed by 2017. The biggest legacy our community can give to the coming generations is a home for county government that meets the needs of the community for the next 100 years.



Jeremy Couso
Jeremy Couso Publisher/Editor
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