A groundbreaking ceremony for construction of the Faulkner County Criminal Justice Center will be held at 11 a.m., Tuesday on site at 513 German Lane in Conway. The public is welcome to attend the ceremonial turning of dirt.

The Criminal Justice Center will be a four story building housing seven courtrooms, offices for the five Circuit Judges and their staffs, the Prosecuting Attorney and staff, the Probation Office staff, the Juvenile Court staff, and others. There will also be accommodations for on-site staff and personnel of the Circuit Clerk, County Clerk, and Sheriff’s Department.

According to county officials, the building will alleviate much of the space problem for those who are involved in criminal justice day-to-day for which the County is tasked with providing space and infrastructure. The facility’s design incorporates current best practices in terms of modern courthouse safety and security concepts, including a secure parking lot for judges and others.

In 2007 the Quorum Court began looking at possible solutions to alleviate the shortage of space for criminal justice activities and the resulting problems. Several options were examined at that time, including remodeling the existing Courthouse, new construction downtown or elsewhere, and retrofitting of other buildings. It was determined that the best option was to build a new Criminal Justice Center located at 513 German Lane on existing criminal justice property.

It was conceived that the property would eventually include a minimum security detention facility, a maximum security facility, the Sheriff’s Office facility, in addition to a courts building.

The County employed Sowell Architects, a well-respected local architectural firm. The building contractor is Alessi Keyes Construction, a firm with a proven track record on similar government projects, including the Federal Reserve Bank (multiple projects); FedEx; UALR; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; and the U.S. Air Force (LRAFB) receiving an award in the process. The design consulting firm is Carter Goble Lee (CGL, a Hunt Company), a company employed worldwide in the planning and design of public facilities at the local, state, and federal levels, including criminal justice centers, corrections facilities, and other government facilities.

"I am pleased to announce construction of the Faulkner County Criminal Justice Center, which will provide much needed space for many aspects of our criminal justice activities," said County Judge Preston Scroggin. "The County’s conservative fiscal policy has put us in a position to be able to continue providing the space needed for Faulkner County government. Simply put, it was a bipartisan effort — professional, productive, efficient — no party politics, etc., just the leaders of Faulkner County identifying a critical need, finding a long term solution, and making it happen."