Butte County Commissioners are continuing study of county facilities that could include moving all but law enforcement and court services away from the current courthouse.

Sheriff Fred Lamphere said he has been reporting regularly to commissioners after they tasked him with developing options to respond to expanding courthouse office needs.

"Something needs to be done," Lamphere said. "We're busting at the seams in every office."

Lamphere said he hopes to have a short study by a professional firm. That could include consideration of the best ways to respond overall to expanding courthouse office needs.

He said Monday that likely would include a new building addition and removal of the frame building that currently houses the extension and state's attorney offices and the old jail building on the east side of the courthouse property.

The old jail building is a registered historic site and still has office facilities in some areas.

But, Lamphere said, it also has serious health concerns in much of the structure. A professional company several years ago did clean piles of bat guano in some areas of the building, but those areas are still considered a potential health concern.

He said an annex to the courthouse building could allow a regional law enforcement center. It also could allow the state's attorney to have offices in the same building as the courts and court services.

"We need to do some better things in the courthouse for security," Lamphere said.

He said the primary county offices, would probably move. That would include treasurer, register of deeds, auditor and director of equalization as well as extension service 4-H office facilities.

A new building also could allow the county health nurse to be in a county-owned facility rather than in a leased office space in Belle Fourche.

Lamphere said that the county is experiencing major growth and workloads in all county offices, law enforcement and courts, but that budget concerns make a rapid move unlikely.

"If we had a commitment today, it's going to be a long time to get it done," he said.


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