After 14 years of discussions regarding a new building for the Alachua County Public Defender’s Office, the group came one step closer to its goal Monday.
A dozen members from the office, Alachua County commissioners, and county employees took part in a ceremonial groundbreaking of the building’s new Gainesville office.
“Through this project, Alachua County is making a fundamental statement, a statement that in our community, indigent defense is not just something that we have to provide,” said Stacy Scott, public defender for the Eighth Judicial Circuit. “It is something that is truly valued. It is a priority.”
The 22,000-square-foot office space is estimated to cost $5.3 million. The judiciary courts of the state attorney, judge, public defender and administrator provided funding for the new office building.
“This building right here is where people can see the importance we place on good defense,” said Robert Hutchinson, chair of the Alachua County Commission.
The one thing this new building won’t have is the restaurant Phil-Nicks as a neighbor.
Hutchinson, jokingly, tried to change that.
“Since we have a quorum of the County Commission here,” Hutchinson said, “I think a motion would be in order to go ahead and put a thousand square feet on the ground floor for Phil-Nicks so we can always have that experience.”