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First dirt being moved at justice center site -- for testing

Sep 24, 2013 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

Passersby should soon see the first dirt moved at the site of the proposed Riverton justice center project.

But it won't be for construction.

Rather, engineers will be taking soil samples so architects can design the facility's foundation according to specifications dictated by soil test results.

"They need to drill five holes at various depths to see what the soil content is," Fremont County Commissioner Travis Becker said at the Sept. 17 county board meeting. "They do that so the architects know what the footings are."

Denver design firm Reilly Johnson Architecture solicited Riverton's Inberg-Miller Engineers to perform the study.

The Fremont County Commission voted 3-2 on Sept. 17 to approve a $5,800 contract with the local company to proceed with the preliminary work.

"Inberg-Miller is the go-to people," Becker said. "I think we've had work done with them before."

Commissioners Larry Allen, Doug Thompson and Becker voted for the contract. Keja Whiteman and Stephanie Kessler voted against it.

The initiative to build a new facility was initiated in July 2012 after a bullet was found to have penetrated the current courthouse's exterior at the facility on South Federal Boulevard in Riverton. Cargo containers have seen set up as a barrier around the building's exterior ever since.

The project restarted in August after the county board voted to have Reilly Johnson resume designing the facility. A May vote had suspended planning because commissioners were waiting to hear the results of a grant application to the State Loan Investment Board.

Some county board members in May said they did not want the county to appear too able to build the project on its own, possibly jeopardizing state assistance.

But word that the Wyoming Legislature at its next session might provide funding for court security motivated the county board in August to continue planning the project.

Reilly Johnson presented an initial design to Commissioners in May. It called for a $5 million facility to contain the Riverton Circuit Court and facilities for the Fremont Count Sheriff's and Attorney's offices.

The architects plan to have more detailed designs finished in October.

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