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Court opening delayed

GRANDVIEW - The expected opening of Yakima District Court in Grandview has been delayed. The court, returning to the Lower Valley after an eight-year absence, was scheduled to open Jan. 1, but the estimated date is now mid-February, according to Harold Delia, court administrator.

"They're still putting paint on the walls and carpeting should be in place by Jan. 15. I'll probably accept the building then," said Delia, who said the court will probably be in place by mid-February.

The remodeling of the interior to transform the former Department of Social and Health Services building on Wine Country Road into aN 8,190 square foot home suitable for a district courtroom, judges chambers, a jury room and three offices each for prosecutors, public defenders and probation officers took longer than the contractor expected, Delia said.

When Lower Valley District Court opens, four judges will rotate monthly service on the bench. They are Don Engel, Rod Fitch, Kevin Roy and Michael McCarthy.

Delia serves as court administrator for all the courts in Yakima County, which makes it possible to have not only district court cases heard at the Grandview site, but also some Superior Court cases and probation issues.

The building is owned by Nelson Realty in Bellevue, which will lease the building to the court at what will be a cost of $13 a square-foot for the first five years and $7 a square foot for the next five. A deal called "good" by the architect, Delia said when he announced the selection at a news conference Oct. 20, 2005. In monetary terms, that means payments of $9,000 a month for the first five years and $4,700 monthly for the following five years.

The City of Grandview, under the leadership of Mayor Norm Childress and City Manager Jim Sewell, helped coordinate the meetings between the realtor and the court when the selection process was in progress. Toppenish and Sunnyside were the other two cities being considered as possible district court sites.

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