Ribbon cutting ceremony

Submitted Photo Mountrail County’s new justice center is visible to the right in this photograph. At the left is the old Mountrail County jail and courthouse which is listed on the Register of Historic Places. This photograph courtesy of Mary Kilen, Mountrail County Promoter.

STANLEY – A dedication and ribbon cutting is set for 2 p.m. Friday for the new Mountrail County Justice Center. The gleaming two-story structure is a big improvement over the aging jail and courthouse that has served this area for more than 100 years.

“What we added on was a 42 bed jail. That’s probably the centerpiece in regard to what we did,” said Wade Enget, Mountrail County state’s attorney.

The old jail was located in the 100-year-old courthouse that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was a 90-day facility that could hold a maximum of 16 prisoners. The new jail will allow for prisoners to be held for up to one year. It is expected that occupancy of the new jail will begin in mid-February.

The new building is designed to match the classic looking rock exterior of the old courthouse. Although the addition is a two-story structure, it remains lower than  its historical counterpart.

Enget’s office was previously located away from the courthouse on Stanley’s Main Street. Now his office is located on the second floor of the Justice Center along with the Clerk of Court, a jury room, judge’s chambers and courtroom.

“I’m already in here,” said Enget. “I officially moved in right before the new year.”

As finishing work is completed throughout the interior of the new building, more and more space will become useable, including the new courtroom.

“The courtroom needs to be looked over by the Supreme Court to make sure everything is up to snuff,” said Enget. “They are still waiting for some electronics and such.”

The main floor of the Justice Center houses the jail, dispatch center and law enforcement center. The sheriff’s department will move out of cramped quarters in the old courthouse to much more efficient and roomy office space in the new center.

“It has an expanded area for the sheriff’s department,” said Enget. “There’s lots more parking for staff and the public.”

According to Enget, the original Mountrail County courthouse was dedicated July 14, 1915. One-hundred years later, ground was broken for the new addition.