Chief Kanawha Circuit Judge Duke Bloom announced Monday that some improvements will be made to the magistrate court system, including the construction of an additional courtroom.
That courtroom will be on the first floor of the Kanawha Judicial Annex adjacent to the current courtrooms. The space was formerly occupied by a magistrate who was reassigned to serve as juvenile referee.
Construction will begin soon to tear down a wall to accommodate the addition.
Also, the magistrate rotation schedule will be overhauled to improve efficiency.
Steve Canterbury, court administrator for the state Supreme Court, said, "This will enhance the access to justice for members of the public."
Kanawha Prosecutor Mark Plants said the plan would help streamline the 20,000 cases that come through magistrate court annually.
"It will help the lobby congestion, which is like a cattle call," Plants said. "There's always numerous victims, attorneys and prosecutors in there. This will reduce the number of cases handled per hour.
"The public will be better served and this is a positive step," Plants said.