WILKES-BARRE — Luzerne County is seeking bids to reconfigure the county courthouse’s west entrance to reduce congestion.
The basement-level entrance is one of two for the public to access the building, with the other on the first-floor south side.
The administration added the western entrance modification to the county’s capital plan in 2017, earmarking $50,000 for the project.
County Manager C. David Pedri said the bid request will determine if the project can proceed within budget.
Long lines of jurors and other courthouse visitors in the cramped west entrance prompted the administration to suggest the project, he said.
“The operational services division and sheriff’s office identified this as a change to increase security and customer service, but price is always a factor,” Pedri said.
Under the plan, visitors would proceed to the left for security screening, entering space currently occupied by the mapping/GIS department.
Mapping/GIS would move to the circular office space at the center of the basement that now houses the sheriff’s office civil division, Pedri explained.
In turn, the sheriff’s office would move to vacant space on the second floor.
Additional space to the right of the west entrance also is available for the expanded entrance because accounts payable workers relocated to an open suite in the county-owned Penn Place building downtown.
A card reader would be installed at the west entrance for employees to access the building, said Pedri.
Bids are due at 10:30 a.m. Jan. 31, according to a posting on the procurement page at www.luzernecounty.org.
The proposed office shuffle sparked discussion about other viable changes, Pedri said.
For example, the clerk of courts and prothonotary’s offices eventually may be housed together in the courthouse. The public would have separate stations for civil and criminal court records, but employees could be cross-trained to assist with record-processing in both areas as needed, he said.
The two offices were previously headed by separate elected row officers before the January 2012 implementation of home rule. James Haddock now oversees both offices under the supervision of Judicial Services and Records Division Head Joan Hoggarth.
Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.