District Attorney’s new office part of expansion

Posted 10/23/09

The 18th Judicial District has a new home. District Attorney Carol Chambers welcomed an assortment of government officials and community activists …

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District Attorney’s new office part of expansion


The 18th Judicial District has a new home.

District Attorney Carol Chambers welcomed an assortment of government officials and community activists from across the district’s four counties to her staff’s new main office in Centennial for a grand opening celebration on Oct. 22.

Although the 18th District encompasses Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties, Arapahoe, the most populated of the four, paid for the $1.15 million building because it is located in the county, which also houses the district’s main courthouses.

“We got this building at a great price,” Chambers said of Arapahoe County’s investment. “I just can’t emphasize enough how frugal and cost-efficient everybody was with taxpayer money. The Arapahoe County team can stretch a dollar farther than any other organization I’ve ever worked with.”

The 18th District’s new 44,500-square-foot building marks another phase in a $13.8 million expansion project that will eventually provide 10 additional courtrooms, one expanded courtroom, a new jury room, and improved court efficiency by consolidating most court functions within the Arapahoe County Justice Center.

The district attorney’s former office building on the site of the Justice Center is being converted into courtrooms. The new offices on South Revere Parkway off Arapahoe Road are approximately a mile and half from the center where Chambers’ staff tries most of the district’s criminal cases.

The new building — formerly occupied by Syngistix, a service provider to the software distribution industry — has several amenities that are relatively uncommon in the sterility of government function, as was noted by several in attendance.

The accouterments were not lost on the elected officials who had voted to approve the building’s purchase, according to Commission Susan Beckman of Littleton, who chairs the Arapahoe County Board of Commissioners.

“[We] were a little concerned when we first walked through this building and saw the wet bars and the big bathrooms,” Beckman told the crowd at the recent ribbon cutting. “One of the concerns was when people would walk in it, they would be thinking we were very frivolous with their dollars when in fact we were very, very responsible.”

In the end, the county converted the wet bars into kitchens, but kept the cozy library and Chambers’ executive bathroom, and its hidden entrance, in tact. Comfy work stations with moveable desks were added in the library to create a casual meeting place for attorneys.

“The James Bond bathroom in my office was there and we kept it there, and we have a beautiful library with a fireplace,” Chambers said with a smile. “I think it’s those little boutique-ey features that have really helped the staff get behind this building and really enjoy making a place that’s their own.”

Arapahoe County, like most counties in Colorado and across the nation, is grappling with a shortage of court and jail space. Since 2005, the county has been working to determine how best to meet space needs of the courts and jails and to accommodate four new judges.

Last February, Arapahoe County completed the first phase of the $13.8 overhaul by adding three new courtrooms to the Justice Center.

Construction is currently under way on an expanded courtroom and jury assembly room . The final phase, which includes the addition of six new courtrooms, is underway and is expected to be completed by fall 2010.

Chambers’s staff of 130 people moved into the new building on Sept. 14.


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