MILTON — The public received a sneak peek Monday of the new $35 million Santa Rosa County courthouse being built on Avalon Boulevard.

The design team presented a conceptual master plan of the new judicial center complex — a three-story, 108,977-square-foot building on 19 acres — that has access to both Avalon Boulevard and Mulat Road.

According to the design team of Ajax Building Corporation, Sam Marshall Architects and HOK, the design includes space on the north side of the site for a future 45,696-square-foot building primarily for State Attorney and Public Defender offices. In addition, the design calls for saving a significant number of trees at the woody site.

David Alsop, Sam Marshall Architects president, said the new building will have many modern features the historic courthouse in downtown Milton now lacks.

“That building is scary,” Alsop said. “This courthouse will have separate travel areas, greater technology and be safer overall.”

The plan includes secure parking for the judges and a safe place to drop off and pick up inmates from court.

County leaders have debated replacing the outdated 1927 courthouse for more than 20 years. Three times between 2002 and 2016, county voters overwhelmingly rejected a 1-cent sales tax to pay for a new courthouse, prompting the county to find other sources of funding.

The commission finally settled on the Avalon location when it bought 19 acres from JDL of Santa Rosa for $850,000 in September 2017.

“It’s great that we got this milestone complete,” said Dan Schleber, the county administrator. “This is way better. It’s safe, secure and modern.”

County commissioner Bob Cole, who represents District 2, said he liked the conceptual plan. The county’s design team will bring back a more detailed drawing of the courthouse interior in July. For example, it will include where the courtrooms will be. The builders projected having construction documents ready for bid by March 2020.

“I’m really happy with what I’m seeing so far,” Cole said.

Dave Piech, District 4 commissioner, added, “I like it. Let’s keep going and let’s get it done.”