Meigs County Opens New Juvenile and Probate Court
By Kirsten Thomas | October 18, 2022
After catastrophic damage to its courtroom, the Meigs County Juvenile and Probate Court is celebrating its new permanent facility.
The court previously operated out of the Meigs County Courthouse built in 1848, making it one of the oldest courthouses in the state.
"We now have this new setup, see how wonderful it is and how much better our job is," Meigs County Juvenile and Probate Court Judge Scott Powell said. "And how much more excited we are to come to work."
On Dec. 4, 2021, a boiler pipe explosion devastated the court's office space. While working to find a new facility, Judge Powell and members of the court worked out of hallways, closets, and borrowed courtrooms, among other spaces, to continue serving the community.
A vacant county office, located on the first floor of 112 E Memorial Drive, was ideal space for the court. It has been transformed into a modern-day courtroom. The new space allows the court to work with youth doing community service projects, with an activity room and opportunities to help with tasks like gardening and painting.
The court lost some technology equipment in the pipe explosion, but technology and security devices were needed before that. In conjunction with the building project, the court applied for a Supreme Court of Ohio 2022 Technology Grant and secured two grants, totaling nearly $55,000. The court is now equipped with an X-ray machine, metal detector, duress system, and will be able to record all hearings with a new recording system and software.
For Judge Powell, a Meigs County native who has been serving on the bench for nearly 20 years, these changes are instrumental to the safe and effective operation of the court.
"There was no second-thinking when I had the opportunity to take on this project," Powell said. "I just tackled it."
While the 1848 courthouse holds its own unique history, Judge Powell established the new location's promising future during the grand opening ceremony. He dedicated the new and updated courtroom to former Meigs County Juvenile Officer Carl Hysell, who died in September 2021.
Hysell served Meigs County for over 45 years and is remembered for his unending generosity to the community. He is regarded as a legend and an institution for those who professionally looked up to him.
"I saw firsthand, and I know the impact he made in my life," the judge said. "He taught us so much, and we get to pick up the torch and go from there."