CLARION - There will be some changes at the Clarion County Courthouse this year as the county commissioners have met with Judge Sara Seidle-Patton about her goals for the building.

Clarion County Commissioner Ted Tharan said there are several things the judge wants to do.

A lot of the changes will begin in Courtroom One, and Tharan said the courtroom will get new benches, new carpeting, lighting and a new jury box so there can be social distancing.

Tharan said social distancing was achieved during a jury trial by placing several juror chairs adjacent to the jury box.

Some of the projects will be completed in August when Seidle-Patton is on vacation, said Tharan.

"One of the grants we received will improve our ability to host tele-hearings," said Tharan.

During the COVID lockdown defendants in jail couldn't be transported to the courtroom and the hearings were conducted remotely.

"Fiber lines will be connected and that will enhance the quality," said Tharan. "That is something I think we can do."

The lines will run to the county jail and to the former Sorce building.

Tharan also said Seidle-Patton would like to have the domestic relations office in the courthouse, and space is now available in the basement with the move of the public safety office to the former Sorce building.

The restrooms in the courthouse are decades old and Tharan said an architect is currently re-designing the restrooms.

He also said a second-floor restroom will be installed.

Grant money also will be used for touch screen hand-soap and towel dispensers.

"We need to look at fresh air intakes on the buildings, a new generator, and we will need to do something with the heating and air conditioning system," said Tharan. "There is a lot of work to do."