By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — Kay County District Attorney Brian Hermanson sits behind a cluttered desk in his office at the Kay County Courthouse, the late afternoon sun casting a bright glow across the room. Outside his door, several assistants move about the office, aiding him in prosecuting the many cases that come through the Kay County District Court. At times, it can be very hectic.
“The Courthouse, in 2026, will be 100 years old. When it was built, the district attorney’s office was the district attorney and one secretary,” he said. “The office has grown significantly. At any given time, you could have 50 – 60 people in the building, waiting for court, with no room to sit.”
The district attorney’s office is not alone in a lack of space. Downstairs in the basement, the Kay County Extension office has multiple staff members, but not enough space for storage, forcing them to take advantage of storage space outside the Courthouse.
“We have some of our things in the shed, which also keeps the lawn equipment, such as our incubators for our embryo program,” said Extension Director Brenda Medlock. “Some of our computer equipment and computer supplies are stored in the building. We need more storage.”
It is for reasons such as these that Kay County leaders, including Hermanson and the County Commissioners, are proposing a new annex building on the lawn south of the Courthouse. Voters will decide on a proposed tax increase to fund the annex Tuesday, Oct. 8.
A lack of storage and office space aren’t the only reasons cited for the proposal. The age of the facility is also a factor, as there are many problems to fix, such as roof leaks.
“The wiring and plumbing are old. There are asbestos issues, there are mold issues,” he said. “There is a leaky roof. We have to cover our equipment because of the leaks in the office. It’s a beautiful building, it just needs a lot of work and renovation.”
According to the proposal, voters will be asked whether or not to approve a sales tax worth one-fourth of 1 percent, to be in effect for 13 years. The tax will fund a new annex, to be located directly south of the courthouse. The building will total 15,778 sq. ft., and all county offices will be relocated to the new building, giving the courthouse more room for judicial proceedings.
The Extension office will have its own building, as well, totaling more than 5,000 sq. ft., which will not only offer more space, but also a place for meetings.
“We’ll have a conference room, a kitchen, so we can do workshops and demonstrations, and we can do contests, like our food contests,” Medlock said. “We can also do more canning and food preservation workshops. Shannon Mallory can provide more ag conferences and workshops.”
Mallory serves as the Kay County Extension Agriculture educator.
The project will also provide more parking for those using the courthouse, annex and extension buildings.
If passed, the project is expected to provide better services and accommodation for all using the property, and will retain the beauty of the current structure.
“It will be much more convenient for citizens to use the courthouse and the annex. We’ll be able to provide all security and services that we can’t do the way the building’s set up now,” Hermanson said. “We’re going to be preserving as much history as possible. The annex will look approximate to the courthouse itself.”