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Cumberland County buys Carlisle property for more office space

With a seventh judge slated to begin serving Cumberland County in 2020, county officials have taken a step toward addressing future needs for office space.

County commissioners last week approved a deal to buy a building at 1615 Ritner Highway in Carlisle, the county seat, for nearly $1.2 million. Known as the Echo Industrial building, the property gives the county 10,800 square feet of new office space, plus an additional 4,200 square feet of warehouse space. 

Facilities management officials for the commonwealth’s fastest-growing county said there are no immediate plans to move any county departments to the new space. However, the county will need to move some departments out of the county courthouse in downtown Carlisle to open up offices for the new judge.

Gov. Tom Wolf last year signed a bill to add judges in seven counties, including in Cumberland County, to serve rising caseloads. Cumberland County, which saw its population rise by 6.2 percent between 2010 and 2017, added a sixth county judge in 2012.

Rachel Bryson, the county’s communications director, said the judges need more space on the fourth floor of the courthouse. Some renovations may be necessary, she said, to make room for the seventh judge.

There are 22 county departments using space in the courthouse.

“Purchasing the Echo property gives the county additional office areas, with room to grow for many years, and frees up the space needed for the seventh judge, all without causing a burden to our taxpayers,” Commissioner Vince DiFilippo said.

The county owns 13 facilities and leases another 12 for office space. Officials considered several options to accommodate the growing needs for judicial space, including construction of a new judicial center or office complex, as well as expanding existing county-owned facilities.

But purchasing the Ritner Highway property was determined to be the most economical choice, Bryson said. The property also is close to other county facilities in and around Carlisle.

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