Stephen P. Linebaugh is confident he can convince the York County commissioners it's time to finish the fifth floor of the Judicial Center.
The York County Common Pleas Court's president judge will make his case during a Sept. 26 meeting with the board, which, actually, has heard this pitch before.
But Linebaugh might have better luck than his predecessor, former President Judge Richard K. Renn, who first broached the subject about two years ago.
Then, the $62 million Judicial Center was just 6 years old, having opened in 2004 behind schedule and millions over budget.
Years later, the county was still working the bugs out of the building, including leaky windows and problems with the heating and air conditioning system.
The vacant fifth floor had been left unfinished during construction, its empty shell intended to accommodate future growth.
And the future came a lot sooner than many people expected.
By August 2010, Renn was saying the Judicial Center already was overcrowded and that he intended to ask the commissioners to complete the floor.
We argued at the time the court should make do with what it had, just as the taxpayers who would have to foot the estimated $5 million bill were doing.
This was, after all, just about a year after the Great Recession supposedly ended, and many people were still feeling the full effects.
One could argue the economy is only slightly better now, but the time might be right for the county to at least start planning to expand the work space in the Judicial Center.
The court is at capacity, causing delays in criminal and civil cases, Linebaugh told the county commissioners last week.
"It has now become critical to the timely dispensing of justice for the citizens of York County that this project move forward expeditiously," he said. "We are now at the point where, for many types of cases, justice is being delayed."
Commissioners Steve Chronister and Doug Hoke said they won't make a decision until hearing from the public after the Sept. 26 hearing, when Linebaugh will "present specific data and information to unequivocally show the need to complete the Judicial Center now."
The judge likely will include in his presentation the original study for the Judicial Center, which projected the extra floor would be needed as early as 2015.
If commissioners agree to Linebaugh's request, it wouldn't be ready for use before then.
The timeframe, at least, seems to be right this time.
Whether the timing is right to take on another multi-million dollar project remains to be seen.