New U.S. Courthouse dedicated to former Senator and Missouri Govenor

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By Tim Sampson
Missouri News Horizon

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Saying the state capitol has been in need of a new courthouse since the start of his long legal and political career, former Missouri Governor and Senator Christopher “Kit” Bond was on hand Tuesday for the dedication of the new U.S. Courthouse in Jefferson City that will bear his name.

While in the Senate, Bond played in integral role in securing the funding and determining the location for the new federal building which sits next to the Old State Penitentiary, on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River.
“Jefferson City plain needed a new courthouse,” Bond said during the dedication ceremony. “I was a practicing lawyer almost 40 years ago. And even then we needed a new courthouse.”

The new facility, which will house U.S. bankruptcy and circuit courts, was officially opened for business in August after finishing ahead of schedule and under budget. Replacing the former downtown facility, the new courthouse has space for two district courtrooms, bankruptcy chambers, U.S. Marshals offices, federal attorneys and Department of Homeland Security offices.

In highlighting the features of the new building, Bond praised the LEED energy efficiency standards met by the design and additional security features that he said would help keep judges, defendants and the public safe.

“It used to be in the old building you had a prisoner and a judge riding in the same elevator,” Bond said. “That won’t be the case in this new building.”

A number of state, local and federal officials were on hand for the building’s ribbon cutting ceremony, including Bond’s successor in the U.S. Senate, Roy Blunt.

Blunt said the project would not have been possible without Bond actively working to secure funding. He said Bond, formerly the state’s youngest governor, was instrumental in the building of a number of new federal courthouses across the state in the last two decades.

“Kit Bond always knew how to get the best for Missouri,” Blunt said. “He was up on the hill everyday competing for Missouri.”

The new courthouse was also praised by local officials, who said it would help breath new economic life into an underdeveloped part of the capitol city. Frank Burkheard, commissioner of the Missouri State Penitentiary Redevelopment Commission, said the courthouse, located across the street from the old prison, would hopefully attract more visitors. Other local officials said the new facility would mean new jobs for the community.
“The courthouse here is a legacy in our community, but it’s particularly a legacy of Sen. Bond,” said Cole County Presiding Commissioner Marc Ellinger. “It’s really a new era in the history of the judiciary in Cole County, Jefferson City and our community as a whole.”