A grand opening and ribbon cutting for the Crawford County Circuit Clerk’s Office is set for 5 p.m. Monday.
Crawford County Circuit Clerk Sharon Blount-Baker and her staff have made the final move in their new office, located in the former county jail at 317 Main St., Van Buren.
Public tours will be from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday.
Total renovation costs are being calculated and are expected to be about $120,000, Blount-Baker said.
Blount-Baker paid for the majority of the remodel with money from her own department. Her renovations to the old jail were meant to mirror the historic architecture and charm of downtown Van Buren, she said.
The front reception area has a large front counter with arched windows reminiscent of vintage bank foyers, and wrought iron bars along the top are a reminder of the building’s former purpose.
With more space, the office is quieter and more efficient, and provides better opportunities to serve the public, Blount-Baker said. The new space is about 4,000 square feet, more than double the old circuit clerk’s office of 1,700 square feet.
Much of the work on the new office, including cleaning and painting and moving books, was done by the office staff, Blount-Baker said.
A total of 1,309 record books and hundreds of boxes of court records were brought from the courthouse into the new office, and more records must be retrieved from two additional storage spaces, Blount-Baker said.
Controlled climate helps preserve the county’s real estate and court records, Blount-Baker said. Jail cells are being used to store the records, and the entire building is considered a vault, she said.
Other features of the office include special blinds and lighting in the index room, which help retain the integrity of the historic records kept there, and historic items displayed throughout.
Plans for Blount-Baker to move her office to the former jail have been under discussion since April 2014. Demolition on the old jail began in early February, and the new office was open to the public on July 31.