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The new Cheshire County Courthouse nears completion in Keene last week. (MEGHAN PIERCE/Union Leader Correspondent)

Keene courthouse to open in mid-December

KEENE — A little over a year after state, county and city officials broke ground on the new Cheshire County Courthouse building, court officials are on track to move in mid-December, County Commissioner Chairman John Pratt said Wednesday.

The new 49,000-square-foot Cheshire County Superior Courthouse sits next to the former Cheshire County Superior Courthouse on Court Street, where the courthouse parking lot once was.

The new county courthouse is to be the new home for the county’s Probate, Superior and 8th Circuit Court District Division in Keene.

The project was undertaken by a Cheshire Court Task Force four years ago, when space limitations in the Cheshire Superior Courthouse on Court Street and the 8th Circuit District Court in Keene, located in City Hall, were deemed inadequate by the state and threatened to force both courthouses out of downtown or the city altogether, which officials feared would impact the public’s access to the courthouse as well as impact the city economically.

City, county and state officials worked with Monadnock Economic Development Corp. on the $10.9 million project.

MEDC undertook construction of the building and owns it. The state will operate the building, Pratt said.

The project was funded by a combination of public and private loans as well as money from MEDC itself.

MEDC will own the new courthouse building and has a 15-year lease agreement, with the expectation that the county or state will step forward to purchase the building halfway through that lease agreement, in seven years.

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