Judge David Bastianelli, County Executive Jim Kreuser and Clerk of Courts Rebecca Matoska-Mentink cut the ribbon on Monday, July 15, in the newly remodeled Branch 1 Courtroom in the Kenosha County Courthouse.
Improvements to the courtroom include significant technological upgrades, the installation of energy-efficient LED lighting, new furniture and a reconfigured jury room.
These were the first substantive improvements to the Branch 1 Courtroom in more than 20 years, and are the latest in a series of efforts to maintain and modernize the historic Courthouse building.
“I can’t thank those such as the executive and our board enough, in terms of the foresight they have in keeping this facility not only beautiful – a historic treasure in my mind – but also so functional,” Judge Bastianelli said.
County Executive Kreuser likewise thanked the County Board for its support for maintaining the Courthouse, and he credited Matoska-Mentink for embracing efficiencies through technology.
Kreuser estimated the county has saved over $1 million on transport and other expenses, by using video conferencing and other technologies to streamline the judicial process. He said hundreds of thousands of dollars were also saved through the cooperation of judges that has allowed the Courthouse to remain operational as renovation work has occurred.
Rehabilitation of the Courthouse began nearly 10 years ago, when the exterior underwent a restoration needed to preserve the building’s structural integrity. Over the last two and a half years, both the Branch 1 and Branch 4 courtrooms have undergone renovations.
“I’m just so glad to be here today,” Kreuser said before cutting the ribbon in Branch 1. “Sometimes it takes a long time to talk about it and do it. We should savor the moment when we get something done with quality that will stand the test of time.”