LEWISTON — State lawmakers are weighing a proposal that would create a $105 million Androscoggin Judicial Center on Lisbon Street.

The bill aims to combine the Androscoggin Superior Court, located in the Androscoggin County Building in Auburn, with the Lewiston District Court into one new building in downtown Lewiston.

The new judicial center “would include modern courthouse features” that are lacking in the two existing facilities, said state Rep. Kristen Cloutier, a Lewiston Democrat.

The Legislature’s Judiciary Committee unanimously backed the plan Monday.

“It certainly seems like it’s needed,” state Sen. Eric Brakey, an Auburn Republican, said. He said the plan looks solid, but whether the state can afford it is less clear.

Before the project could get underway, it will need approval from the Legislature and funding from lawmakers who always pick and choose what moves ahead even among approved plans.


Cloutier said that among the amenities the new building would offer are conference rooms for attorneys and clients to meet, a suite for prosecutors, prisoner holding cells on each floor and in the basement, interview rooms, expanded security, better technology, secure parking for judges and a lactation room.

The bill goes beyond the Lewiston courthouse plan. It also proposes new courthouses in Hancock and Somerset counties.

Amy Quinlan, the state court administrator, said the court system is already “in the process of acquiring the building at 55 Lisbon St., next door to the present district court.”

“We plan to gut the building and remodel it to add three additional courtrooms” to the five in the existing district court building, Quinlan told the committee.

“We will be adding at least eight more public conference rooms and, if space allows, an additional room for dispositional conferences and hearings,” Quinlan said.

Design and construction of the facility is estimated to reach $105 million.


Maine Chief Justice Valerie Stanfill recently told lawmakers that some of the old courthouses in the state “have insufficient space for courtrooms, few conference rooms for private conversations, a lack of wiring infrastructure to support current technology and outdated equipment for heating and ventilation.”

She also said that security needs cannot be met in the antiquated space.

“This is not an atmosphere conducive to the administration of justice,” Stanfill said.

She said the bill’s cost is hefty, but worth it.

“If we postpone this construction, it will just have a higher price tag at a future date,” Stanfill said.

The 55 Lisbon St. building, the old Depositors Trust Company, houses the District Attorney’s Office for Androscoggin County as well as an office for U.S. Sen. Susan Collins.


Androscoggin County commissioners have refused to pay rent on the prosecutor’s office because, they say, the building’s elevator doesn’t work, its roof leaks and other issues.

Brakey said that if the project moves ahead, the courtrooms in the county building would be given back to Androscoggin County.

What that means for the fate of the historic county building is uncertain.

A timeline presented by the court system indicates the Lewiston project would likely take place, if approved, between the spring of 2027 and the fall of 2029.

The courthouses for Hancock and Somerset counties make the total expected cost for the trio of new projects $205 million.

The Maine Bar Association backs all three projects.

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