Special to The Ely Times 

The USDA Rural Development announced it has approved a $9 million loan to White Pine County to help finance the construction of a new justice center that will include a 38,000-square-foot courthouse and an enclosed and secure area for prisoner intake.

“Built more than a century ago, White Pine County Courthouse has served the county for many years. Recently, White Pine County recognized the need for an additional, secure space that meets national courthouse standards,” Sen. Dean Heller said. “That’s why I’m pleased that the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Agency has approved this loan to help Ely grow its infrastructure.

The total project cost is estimated to be $17.7 million. According to research by https://personalmoneynetwork.com/, White Pine County is contributing $7.55 million and will secure the loan through bond financing from the proceeds of Senate Bill 74, which establishes sales tax revenue dedicated solely to public safety infrastructure.

White Pine County financed a USDA 30-year-loan at 3.25 percent.

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2018. The Justice Center Project also includes a 72-bed expansion, which the county continues to work on funding for through Net Proceeds of Minerals Revenues.

The new justice center will be located adjacent to the jail. A new enclosed prisoner intake area, called a sally port, will connect the center and the jail, to enhance security.

Once construction is completed, the old courthouse will be used for county administrative offices.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas.

“USDA Rural Development takes community safety seriously, and we are pleased to see White Pine County use Community Facility funds to improve courthouse security,” said Herb Shedd, Acting State Director for USDA Rural Development. “Residents as well as county employees will benefit from this move.”