The first dirt will be shoveled this week for the new courthouse being built downtown.

“I’m excited about it,” Clerk of Court Lisa Brown said. “It seems like the project is moving on schedule.”

It seems like setbacks occur that put some construction projects off schedule, Brown said, but in the case of the courthouse she believes the builders are keeping the courthouse time schedule in mind and she’s confident they’re doing the best they can to meet that timeline.

The $16.5 million project to complete the addition of 59,677 square feet is expected to take approximately two years, according to previous Daily News reports. The new district courthouse will have three floors and four new courtrooms.

While some sacrifices will be necessary — including potentially holding court in different buildings throughout the county and dwindling parking spots — Brown asked for the public’s patience and to keep focused on the big picture.

“It’s a big team effort and I’m really appreciative of everybody’s generosity,” Brown said.

The groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday in the gravel parking lot behind the Summersill Building, the district courthouse, and is open to the public, according to Onslow County Communications Specialist Riley Eversull.

The current Onslow County commissioners will break the ground to symbolize the beginning of the project, Eversull said.