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Roanoke federal court facing construction disruption

Complaints are plentiful about the 35-year-old Richard H. Poff Federal Building in Roanoke, but workers at the federal courts are not looking forward to a planned $51-million renovation project.

At a Thursday hearing, Congressional critics grilled a General Services Agency official about whether the project was improvidently planned.

Court Clerk Julia Dudley had a different perspective. Once the project begins, she said, the clerk’s office “will again occupy chopped up, cramped space and lose privacy and functionality.”

Dudley told a House subcommittee plans call for temporary closure of the magistrate judge’s courtroom and moving work spaces together. “It’s like we’re all squeezing together and we’ll have to learn to live with inconvenient clutter for the next few years,” she said.

Noting most other agencies in the federal building will be temporarily relocated, Dudley said the courts will be isolated in a “largely empty, 14-story construction zone.”

By Peter Vieth

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