Bigger, better Divide County Courthouse

Kim Fundingsland/MDN Included in recent construction at the Divide County courthouse was a new chamber for the county commissioners. Pictured is Gayle Jastrzebski, Divide County auditor.

CROSBY – It is a showpiece. No doubt about that, and it was needed too. The Divide County Courthouse recently doubled in size.

Like many aging courthouses in communities throughout North Dakota, the Divide County courthouse was bulging at the seams prior to new construction and renovation. Desks were crammed into hallways. The sheriff’s department was pressed into a small work area designed for a much smaller staff. Social services was rapidly outgrowing their limited space.

“The health unit was off campus and we needed more meeting rooms too,” said Gayle Jastrzebski, auditor.

Expansion plans were drawn up in 2015 and construction got underway in 2016. The project was mostly complete and occupied by August 2017. Remarkably, no bond issue was necessary to fund the project.

“Part of it was funds on hand, $3 million,” explained Jastrzebski. “We took out a loan for $7.5 million, which is guaranteed through oil and gas revenue through the Bank of North Dakota.”

Storage for records and other items was increased as a result of the building project. An old meeting room was converted for that purpose. New construction was done do meet the latest technological needs and to allow for the ability to expand as necessary. Overall, the new construction has been well received by those working in the courthouse and the public.

“They are very well pleased, very happy with what was done,” said Jastrzebski. “All were involved through the whole process, the planning and the layout.”

The new courthouse makes a favorable impression on those who enter it. Most don’t expect to see modern courthouse facilities underneath the large dome that signifies the center of governmental activity for many counties in North Dakota.

“It’s impressive and the board of commissioners had a huge play in it,” remarked Jastrzebski.