Cortez City Council members on Tuesday voted to approve a site development plan for a new Montezuma Combined Courts facility at 865 N. Park St.
The building would house four courtrooms for both district and county purposes, as well as areas for probation and deliberation rooms for juries and judges, Dennis Humphries, the project’s lead architect, said at the council’s regular meeting Tuesday. Inmates would be transported to the courtrooms from the county jail, which would be across the street from the proposed facility, and would be separated from the general public.
Humphries said he hopes construction, which will take 12 months, would start this summer.
Council members said they liked the look of the building, which features southwest-style architecture, including a kiva-inspired component and an adobe stucco finish.
“What a beautiful building,” council member Bob Archibeque said.
Humphries said the 32,400-square-foot building will be built at a 45-degree angle facing southeast so that people in the building will have views of Mesa Verde National Park and Sharkstooth Peak. He said the building was designed with the landscape in mind.
“We designed the building for this place,” Humphries said. “It wouldn’t work anywhere else in Colorado.”
The planned unit development code for Cortez requires at least four features or elements of southwest-style architecture in new buildings. In addition to the stucco treatment and kiva structure, the building will feature recessed windows, covered terraces and parapet walls, Humphries said.
The goal for the building is to be certified by the U.S. Green Building Council for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Humphries said. The project’s leaders are working toward a gold LEED rating, which is the second-highest of four, Humphries said.
The City Planning and Zoning board approved the site development plan on March 1 with several conditions, City Planner Tracie Hughes said. Those conditions include satisfying requirements of utility providers, city departments and affected districts, as well as containing exterior lighting on the property and landscaping around trash receptacles to screen them from view, according to city planning documents.
The council unanimously voted to pass a resolution approving the site development plan.
Humphries said the facility is needed to maintain the area’s public safety.
“We think the building will be a great asset to the community,” he said.