VAN WERT, Ohio - The Van Wert County commissioners will spend $2 million to renovate two downtown buildings as part of a settlement to help the juvenile court staff move into new offices.
The renovations will allow the Van Wert County Juvenile and Probate Court and the Youth Bureau to move into the main floor of the county courthouse. Currently, Probate Court is in the basement of a 125-year-old downtown building. Work will begin next week and should be completed by the end of November.
The project is the result of a legal battle between Juvenile Court Judge Rex Fortney and the commissioners.
The judge filed a lawsuit in 1999 against the commissioners, demanding a bigger, better courtroom. The lawsuit claimed the commissioners failed to provide safe, suitable court space for the judge and his staff.
The issue was settled in August, 2000, when the commissioners agreed to move some county offices out of the courthouse to the renovated buildings so the judge and his staff could move into the courthouse.