MOORHEAD — Clay County will soon have what could be called a "second courthouse" as about 50 employees and several county offices currently in the courthouse are moving to a new site in southeast Moorhead.

The county completed the purchase of an R.D. Offutt Co. building at 3510 12th Ave. S. near Horizon West Middle School on Tuesday, Nov. 24, for $2.2 million and will begin moving in next month.

Assistant County Administrator Darren Brooke said the county was considering perhaps constructing a new building near the courthouse, but he said the RDO building became available and that it "fits our needs."

He said the RDO building will allow more room for visitors and employees who were becoming crowded on the second and third floors of the courthouse.

Moving to the new site are the offices of the county auditor, treasurer, recorder and assessor, plus central administration, human resources, information services and planning and zoning.

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Brooke said the new site will also free up space to make the courthouse a "true courthouse" because courtrooms and offices for the county attorney, public defenders and other employees related to court operations will be found there.

The courthouse was built in 1954 at a cost of $704,000. The county had three different courthouses before that time starting in 1872.

"We're pretty excited," Brooke said. "It solves a lot of our overcrowding problems and will be way cheaper than constructing a new building."

Some of the county offices will move into the new site by the end of the year, with a goal of completing the move by March "if not sooner," Brooke said.

RDO, an agricultural company, is leaving the furniture in the building as its employees soon will be moving into the new Block 9 tower on Broadway in downtown Fargo. It's part of a move by RDO to consolidate its metro area offices into one location.

Clay County is not the only local government agency recently to buy an RDO building. The Fargo School District purchased the company's offices just south of Island Park in Fargo.