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    Where it stands: Loudoun County Courts Complex expansion

    The Loudoun County Courts Expansion project in downtown Leesburg has seen some movement in recent weeks. Here's a quick look where things stand.

    What: A massive, more than $50 million project to expand the county courts complex and operations in downtown Leesburg, including Loudoun Circuit and General District courts. The project has been planned for more than a decade to help with the growing county's caseload.

    Where: The new complex for Loudoun General District Courts and parking will be located on the Leesburg block surrounded by Edward's Ferry, Church and Cornwall streets; this is across Church Street from the current courts facility. The current courts facility will remain in place with renovations.

    When: It's a bit unclear since it depends on final approvals from Leesburg Town Council and the Board of Supervisors. A county staff estimate has the project completed in early 2019.

    Architecture and engineering firm Dewberry is in charge of construction.

    History: After intense discussion on whether the courts campus should remain downtown or move to the government site on Sycolin Road in southern Leesburg, both the Board of Supervisors and Leesburg Town Council in 2012 affirmed plans for the complex to remain in downtown Leesburg.

    Recently: The Board of Supervisors on Jan. 21 approved a design concept plan that calls for a 92,000 square feet and a newly-added level of parking that ballooned the project's overall cost by roughly $3 million.

    Issues: The project hasn't been a swiftly moving one, mainly because zoning approvals and design plans have to be approved by both Loudoun County and the Town of Leesburg.

    The issue of four existing structures in the path of construction – at 106, 108, 110 and 112 Edwards Ferry Road – has raised concerns from Leesburg officials, specifically the town's Board of Architectural Review. The BAR has asked the supervisors to consider studying how to either relocate the buildings or preserve them through construction – something that would add cost to the project.

    Supervisors on Jan. 21 asked why the structures weren't brought up earlier in the process and say they are moving forward with the design plan that calls for demolishing the buildings.

    “If they're going to insist these units stay on this project, then I think it is time to move this facility and plant it on Sycolin," said board Chairman Scott York (R-At Large) Jan. 21. "That's just my personal view because we can't build what we need if these buildings have to stay."

    Supervisor Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn), seeming irked, said, “Frankly, I have half a mind to make a motion to say let's reconsider Sycolin. But I'm going to be nice. I'm just a little jumpy.”

    Given past discussions, it's unlikely the board will opt to reconsider moving the expansion from downtown to the government property off Sycolin Road this far through the process.

    Next up: York said he will be in contact with Leesburg Mayor Kristin Umstattd about the county board's plans to advance with the favored concept plan that includes demolition of the Edwards Ferry buildings. Of the 13 design proposals, none included plans to preserve the buildings in question. Leesburg Town Council, which has repeatedly stated its preference the courts facilities remain downtown, has ultimate authority on the town's side.

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