KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Kalamazoo County commissioners and court administrators are scrambling to figure out how they’re going to make room for an additional circuit court judge in the near future.

Crews have been working on the new justice center since long before Gov. Gretchen Whitmer authorized the additional position last December. 

Since then, construction managers have had to push back the justice center’s completion date by about two months, moving it from October to December 2023.

County leaders like prosecutor Jeff Getting said they don’t want to add to the delay.

“It’s one of those things where we’re always trying to balance looking forward as to what future needs are going to be … to what do we need now, what are the costs going to be involved in planning for now versus planning for the future,” Getting said.

Kalamazoo County commissioners are looking at the existing justice complex on Gull Road, which only houses the circuit court’s family division. In a proposed agenda item for its regular meeting Tuesday night, the board of commissioners is expected to vote on whether to approve reallocating $100,000 from the justice center project’s $2.3 million fund toward designing an additional courtroom for the new circuit court judge.

In his agenda request, County Administrator and Controller Kevin Catlin described going with the Gull Road Justice Complex as “imperative.”

“The option to design space with the new downtown justice center was evaluated,” Catlin wrote. “However, construction of the justice center would have been delayed further with the additional (courtroom) as well as increased costs significantly.”

“We didn’t want to delay completion of the new facility unnecessarily by making changes late in the game to the design process,” Getting said. “Right now, the biggest part was identifying which facility and how we’re going to best make use of what currently exists in a way that’s cost-effective for the community.”

If commissioners approve the matter, architecture firm TowerPinkster will begin the design work immediately. Construction on the new courtroom will begin once the contractor bids are approved in 2024. 

As work continues on the downtown justice center, which is now expected to open in December 2023, Getting expects no delays or issues for his staff or the court system once crews start working on the additional room at the Gull Road facility.

“The two (projects) can certainly be done without interfering with each other,” Getting said.

Those with TowerPinkster, who originally designed the Gull Road Justice Complex, deferred News 8’s requests for comment to the county. 

Catlin and circuit court administrators were not available for an on-camera interview Tuesday.

Tuesday’s meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.