The Winnebago County Courthouse, closed since Nov. 5 when a fire to a neighboring, connected building caused about $225,000 in damage, is expected to reopen this month in phases after extensive cleaning.
According to Tom Jakeway, trial court administrator for the 17th Judicial Circuit Court of Winnebago and Boone counties, the plan is to resume courthouse operations in early December, first by reopening offices on the first floor - the Winnebago County Circuit Clerk's office and traffic court - and then by reopening upper floors as they are ready.
The courthouse, 400 W. State St., has been closed since the fire at 403 W. Elm St. The court has remained operational throughout November, however, using courtrooms in the Winnebago County Criminal Justice Center and Juvenile Justice Center and virtual court calls.
The court created a webpage to share information on daily courthouse operations: http://17thcircuit.illinoiscourts.gov/about/news/news-releases/230-winnebago-county-courthouse-operations-and-scheduling-page
More:Man charged with arson after fire damaged Winnebago County Courthouse
Traffic court was canceled from Nov. 7 to 23 but resumed Nov. 28 in a courtroom on the first floor of the Criminal Justice Center.
The circuit clerk's office has been using a satellite office on the second floor of the Criminal Justice Center. A domestic violence assistance center and legal self-help center have been established in the building as well.
The Winnebago County Coroner's Office has been using space in the Criminal Justice Center, as well.
The Rockford Fire Department, which fought the blaze at the building known for housing county offices and the old jail, reported last month that a firefighter was injured while fighting the fire and was treated and released at a local hospital.
The cause of the fire has been reported as undetermined, and an investigation is ongoing.
This article originally appeared on Rockford Register Star: Winnebago County Courthouse to reopen in phases after fire