The Administrative Office of the Courts has relocated its offices for only the third time since its inception in 1976. Beginning Nov. 4, 2013, the AOC occupied the former Home Depot building at 1001 Vandalay Drive, just off of the I-64 exit and U.S. 127/Lawrenceburg Road in Frankfort. The AOC was previously located for many years at 100 Millcreek Park in Frankfort.
AOC Under One Roof
Prior to the move, the AOC operated out of five buildings at Millcreek Park. The new office space brings the AOC’s Frankfort-based staff together under one roof, which improves staff interaction and work flow. The facility is also large enough to host meetings and educational programs for the court system’s 403 elected justices, judges and circuit court clerks and the non-elected court personnel.
In addition to accommodating all of the AOC’s departments, the facility has a 400-seat conference room, several smaller meeting rooms, a warehouse and a print shop. It is also home to the Judicial Branch’s technology center, which houses the computer server and ancillary equipment that support eFiling and the statewide court case management system.
The well-constructed Home Depot building was renovated to increase its energy efficiency. Sherman Carter Barnhart of Lexington was the architect for the project and Morel Construction Co. of Louisville was the construction manager.
The move is part of the AOC’s efforts to reduce costs wherever possible in light of ongoing state budget reductions. After leasing facilities for nearly 40 years, the AOC will own its building for the first time. Since 1987, the AOC had spent $16.7 million in rent and renovations on the Millcreek campus without gaining equity in the property. At the end of the short-term contract to purchase the former Home Depot building, the AOC will own the building and save nearly $1 million a year in lease payments.
In January 2012, the AOC signed a lease-to-purchase contract to buy the vacant 14-acre Home Depot property for $5.9 million. Home Depot paid $11 million for the unimproved property in 2003. The AOC earmarked one-time savings from its facilities budget and criminal record report revenue to cover the $6.26 million renovation.
Win-Win for Courts, County and State Government
This move is positive for all involved. The vacant Home Depot property had been on the market for more than three years when the AOC signed the lease-purchase contract. The renovation replaces an empty, big-box retail store with an attractive, highly functional, energy-efficient headquarters for the state court system. The AOC acquired improved office space at a reduced cost, Frankfort benefits from the occupation of a vacant building and the state will own valuable property in a desirable location.