Alan Pepicelli of Watts and Pepicelli views a photo taken in the old Crawford County Courthouse before it was destroyed in a fire.

Brief ceremonies marking a moment in history became the last official action in Crawford County Court of Common Pleas' Motions Court Monday as the the county's court system transitions to the new county judicial center today.

"We want to make sure of some record in the future," President Judge Anthony Vardaro said to the more than 50 lawyers and court staff in attendance in Courtroom No. 1 where Motions Court was held. Motions Court accepts requests for a judge to issue a ruling or order on a legal matter.

Judges Vardaro, John Spataro and Mark Stevens all said they were looking forward to the new judicial center, but they also noted the history of Courtroom No. 1.

The present courthouse was renovated and expanded in the 1950s with a dedication Oct. 23, 1954. Prior to the start of courthouse renovation work in 1951, county court did a similar ceremony to shut down the old courtroom, but the exact date of the ceremony couldn't be determined, Vardaro said.

The old courtroom was under the center dome of the previous courthouse before the expansion, Vardaro said. A portion of the railing from that courtroom will be on display in new judicial center, he said.

As for the future of Courtroom No. 1 in the courthouse, Vardaro said the county's three judges all hoped it would remain a ceremonial courtroom or a magisterial district judge courtroom in the future if the present courthouse is renovated. 

While Courtroom No. 1 will begin operation today in the new judicial center, judges and staff for Courtroom Nos. 2 and 3 are in the process of moving this week. Those two courtrooms are to be operational next week.

A formal dedication of the new judicial center is scheduled for 10 a.m. Aug. 15.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.

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