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New Probate Court Area for Ellington and Vernon Dedicated on Thursday

"Classy" was one adjective used to describe it.

Some words used to describe the new facilities for the probate court at Vernon Town Hall on Thursday.

Classy.

Historic.

Appropriate.

Overdue.

At an upbeat dedication ceremony, Vernon Mayor George Apel, Ellington First Selectman Maurice Blanchette and Probate Judge James Purnell cut the ribbon on the new courtroom and adjoining conference rooms.

The probate court is actually called the Ellington District, but it is housed in the Vernon Town Hall, near the criminal, civil and juvenile courthouses in Downtown Rockville. It servies both towns.

The new probate court housed old planning department offices and the space became available when all planning, zoning and economic development departments were moved downtime hill to a building on West Main Street.

The old brick is not exposed in both the main room and adjoining conference rooms. The old windows were frosted and lighted and the pictures of past probate judges - some looking like you'd never want to go before them - line the wall.

Apel proudly pointed out on Thursday that the conversion was made my two staff maintenance workers and the new space is, "an appropriate facility to better serve the community."

Blanchette used the term "more dignified."

The probate court used to be housed in a relatively small space in Town Hall. The conference rooms are key, Purnell said, because they allow space for private conferences.

How significant was the conversion? State probate Court Administrator Paul Knierim attended the ribbon-cutting.

"This keeps us where we want to be - rooted in the community," he said.

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