Construction affecting Supreme Court, AG operations

Although you can’t tell it from the outside, the 106-year-old state Supreme Court Building is getting an HVAC makeover this summer and fall.

Jefferson City-based Environmental Engineering Inc. has a nearly $1,900,947 contract to install a new heating, ventilating and air conditioning system in the building by mid-November.

But the work is causing both the Missouri Supreme Court and attorney general’s offices to play an occasional game of office shuffling.

“We will also shuffle people around within our part of the building when work goes on in individual offices,” Nanci Gonder, Attorney General Chris Koster’s spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

Koster and his staff have offices on the main floor and in the basement of the building, mostly on the east side, while the seven-judge high court and its staff use space in the basement and first floors, mainly on the west side, and on the second and third floors.

The court’s law library also is on the second and third floors, facing the Capitol.

Supreme Court spokeswoman Beth Riggert noted in an e-mail that the court’s “core functions remain unaffected. For example, the Court continues to file, consider and decide cases as it always has, and the library resources remain available for public use.”

The construction work comes at a convenient time for the court — summer, when the work load is a little less.

There are no scheduled oral arguments, where lawyers and spectators from around the state come to hear cases presented to the seven-judge court for its final, controlling opinions on how the state’s Constitution and laws apply to the facts of the cases being argued.

However, Riggert said, the court still could come together for an emergency hearing on some issue, if such a need arose.

And, for the summer, there are no scheduled building tours.

The court posted a notice on its website that the tours won’t be available through Sept. 2.

Riggert explained: “This is out of consideration for the comfort of our visitors. ... We are uncertain what the level of discomfort might be at any given point (because of) dust, air conditioning being turned off temporarily, etc.”

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