Work on the new communications project the Vinton County Commissioners have invested in is nearing completion.

The project involves a major rewiring of the courthouse because the new phone system is powered by a new high-speed Internet system from Horizon. The base wiring work was done at the courthouse by the Freedom Lynx crews based in Circleville. While that was going on, Horizon crews were bringing the big trunk lines into the courthouse for the hookups.

With the new system comes some changes in the way callers access the various departments at the courthouse. The main courthouse switchboard number (740)-596-4571 is still the same. In the past, the departments have had a three-digit code. With the new system, those departments will have a one-digit code. This system is now in effect.

The new directory is as follows: #2 (Auditor’s Office); #3 (Clerk of Courts); #4 (Commissioners’ Office); #5 (Common Pleas Court); #6 (Community Corrections); #7 (County Court); #8 (Engineer’s Office); #9 (Probate-Juvenile Court); #10 (Juvenile Services); #11 (Prosecuting Attorney’s Office); #12 (Recorder’s Office); #13 (Treasurer’s Office); and # 14 (Veterans Service Office). The operator can be reached by dialing 0.

There are also other changes as employees have individual four-digit extension codes that go directly to their desks.

The new system also integrates with cell phones as employees can place a call from personal cell phones and have the (740)-596-4571 main courthouse number come up on their phones. Another feature of the new system is that it bolsters the courts’ video arraignment system with the Southeast Ohio Regional Jail in Nelsonville.

The new system also includes the adjacent Sheriff’s Office building as their phones were also in need of an upgrade.

The commissioners explained the big upgrade came about because the current 30-year-old telephone system was failing and the technology has changed over the years. Courthouse staffers pointed out that calls were being dropped and they were having trouble hearing the other parties.

The Commissioners consider communications an important responsibility and are glad the project is winding down.