Work starts at courthouse

SCAFFOLDING is being set up in readiness for the painting of the main court room at Wangaratta.

The work was one of several jobs tackled yesterday as part of the $2.7 million renovation project.

Court registrar Nicole Saunders said installation of new security doors began yesterday, with the work expected to be completed by today.

“That will allow for secure entry from the cells for those in custody into court one,” she said.

“There’s also scaffolding being put in place to do the painting in court one.”

Large sections of paint are peeling from the high ceiling of the court room, which is used for both the County and Supreme courts.

The peeling paint was caused by a leaky roof that has since been fixed.

Contractors have also begun work on demolishing a small surplus room on the western border of the courthouse.

The room is no longer needed and needs to be removed as part of work on the structural integrity of the building, which dates from the late 1930s.

“It’s only a small room that juts out from the main building and it can’t be seen from the street,” Ms Saunders said.

Work on rejuvenating court one is scheduled to be completed by January 20.

Aside from the paintwork, the court one works will also see the revarnishing of timber work in the art deco space and the reupholstering of chairs including those used by jurors and people in the public gallery.

Renovation of the courthouse cells includes the installation of heating and cooling, water bubblers, toilet and hand basin units.

A damning WorkSafe report on security and safety in May led to County Court criminal cases being moved to Wodonga for the rest of this year.

That was because prisoners could no longer be held in custody at Wangaratta.

Victorian Attorney-General Robert Clark announced the renovation project in May.

It was decided early on that the cells had to be given priority over other parts of the courthouse.

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