JONESBORO — Union County said an official hello to its new courthouse with a dedication ceremony in Jonesboro Saturday.

About 300 people gathered on the courthouse lawn for the dedication, followed by tours and refreshments in the new building.

The courthouse, only the fifth to serve the county since its founding in 1818, replaces one built in 1858, former county commissioner Randy Lambdin told the audience.

“The old building served us well. It was, at the time, the third-longest functioning courthouse in the state,” he said.

But time — and a devastating ice storm — finally caught up with the 155-year-old building and Union County voters supported a 1 percent sales tax to build the new facility, county board chairman Don Denny said.

The building came in a few dollars under its estimated $10.5 million construction cost, he said.

“We spent the money wisely and we had great support from the community,” he said. “This building belongs to the taxpayers and they should be proud of it.”

County Clerk Terry Bartruff said the building better fills the needs of county functions.

“In the old courthouse, our vaults, workspaces and storage areas were overflowing. There was no room to grow. Now we have the storage capacity for many years to come,” he said of the spacious building.

Circuit Clerk Lorraine Moreland said county departments can now function better for the public they serve.

“We’re no longer sharing desks, computers and going everywhere to get our documents. We can do our jobs in a more efficient and timely manner for the public,” Moreland said. “This facility is such a blessing. We’re so blessed to have it.”

Retired county employee Ruby Hartje was among those touring the facility.

“We had close quarters in the old courthouse but we enjoyed it,” she said. “This building is going to be wonderful for people to work in. It’s just fabulous.”

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