MARQUETTE - A federal courthouse security project will limit public access to the parking area near the downtown building that is home to the U.S. Post Office and the U.S. District Court.
The ongoing construction work should be completed by the end of the year and will block public traffic from traveling through the alley at the west of the building, located at 202 W. Washington St.
"The project is to enhance the security," said Bruce Nordin, the chief deputy for the U.S. Marshals Service in the Western District of Michigan. "We need to remember that's not just a post office. It's also a federal courthouse."
Ongoing construction work at the U.S. Post Office and U.S. District Court building in downtown Marquette should be completed by the end of the year. The project will block public traffic from traveling through this alley to the west of the building, located at 202 W. Washington St. (Journal photo by Kyle Whitney)
In addition to the Marquette court, there are three other federal courthouses in the Western District, including in Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids and Lansing.
"We have to address each courthouse with the same concerns and the same issues," he said. "We have the same security concerns in Marquette as we do in Grand Rapids or Detroit. Unfortunately, people don't always want to look at it that way, but the fact of the matter is there are federal judges there that hear federal cases."
Nordin said it is not unusual for a federal courthouse to be located in the same building as a post office. In Marquette, the court building is owned by the U.S. Postal Service, which leases out space to the court.
Brandon Nicholas, the officer in charge at the Marquette post office, said the parking lot to the north of the building will remain open to the public.
Nicholas said he has been briefed on the security project, but added that the decision to do the project was made on a national level.
"We do share a building," he said. "Based upon their requests and their needs, we have to try to work together."
That cooperation may be important, as Nordin said further projects are likely.
"As funding comes available, security enhancements will increase at the Marquette facility, just as they are at facilities across the country," he said.
Nicholas said any additional projects should have little impact on the public.
"The additional security that they're going to be putting in place here, as far as I've been briefed on, is not going to affect the public and the public's interaction with the postal service whatsoever," he said. "It's just controlling their traffic going up to the second and third floors."
Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.