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County buys bank building, prepares for courthouse expansion
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County buys bank building, prepares for courthouse expansion

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Washington Federal Bank

Washington Federal Bank, pictured on Jan. 7, will become home to the Elko County Recorder's office later this year. Elko County recently purchased the property to expand offices near the courthouse in preparation for the Department 3 district judge. 

ELKO – Elko County offices will have some room to grow with the purchase of a bank building across the street from the county complex.

The Washington Federal Bank building on the corner of Sixth and Idaho streets was purchased by the County to accommodate expansion of the Fourth Judicial Court and its newly created Department 3.

“We’re trying to keep everything here in the area,” said County Manager Rob Stokes about the purchase that took place a couple of weeks before the end of the year.

The building is just under 9,000 square feet, and the property will add about 39 parking spots to the county complex, Stokes said, adding that extra parking is always needed.

“I’m not sure if it will meet our needs [entirely], but it will certainly help,” he said.

Some spaces will remain designated for the bank, but the rest of the parking lot will be available for people who are called for jury selection and others who have regular county business.

“In a year, all of it will become available for the County,” Stokes said.

The County purchased the building for an appraised value of $1.3 million. The property will be leased to Washington Federal for a year, allowing the Recorder’s office to move in during that time.

Stokes said it is his understanding that within the year, the bank will construct a new building in Elko.

The creation of Department 3 by the Legislature last year spurred the County to begin looking at remodeling the courthouse for offices, judge’s chambers and a courtroom for the new district judge position.

Currently, Department 1 and 2 courtrooms and offices are located on the second floor of the courthouse. Justice and municipal court offices for Department A and B are located in the basement, with Department A’s courtroom on the main floor.

Ten years ago, the annex and Nannini Building were constructed behind the courthouse to provide space for several county offices, including the Assessor, Clerk, District Attorney, and the County Commissioners boardroom.

The expansion increased the footprint of the courthouse, which was built in 1911 on the site of the first courthouse that was constructed in 1869.

This year more county offices could be shuffled around, including moving the Clerk’s office to make room for the Treasurer’s office, Stokes said.

However, the expansion into the bank building is still in the design phase, he said. An architect is expected to visit next week to survey the space in the bank and courthouse, and those results will determine the next steps.

County Recorder Mike Smales said about 150 years of county records — some of them digitized — would be moved to the bank during the transition. Staff will be available at both sites to keep the office open to the public.

“We’re the first domino,” he said.

The property will be leased to Washington Federal for a year, allowing the Recorder’s office to move in during that time.

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Courts, K-12 schools & Spring Creek reporter

Staff writer for the Elko Daily Free Press

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