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Top 4 Reasons to Automate Your Court Design Guide Standards

Posted by Ron Seibel on Mar 8, 2018

Topics: Courthouse Processes and Planning, courthouse design

 

By Ron Seibel, IT Manager

Great news! Discussions are underway regarding finally building a new courthouse. It has taken years to get to this point. Now, to get started, the planning group needs estimates of the amount of space needed for each court component. “Can’t we just use the space we have now?” someone asks. “Well, no,” you say, because only one of the four clerk’s office filing windows has been used since e-filing became the norm. “Does anyone know where the current space standards are stored?” someone else asks. “I think the printed standards are in a binder in the clerk’s office…but that’s very old. I’m not sure where the updates or addendums are stored…if we have them at all.”

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The Architect and the Court Planning Consultant: A Match Made in Heaven

Posted by Matt Hemphill on Jan 4, 2018

Topics: Courthouse Renovation/Construction/Economics, Courthouse Processes and Planning, Courtroom Design

 

By Matt Hemphill, Senior Architect

I was once part of a courthouse planning team for a new courthouse. When we sat down to interview the short list of architecture firms, the first firm brought in a court planning consultant as part of their team. We were all impressed. They walked out the door and the next architecture firm came in. To my surprise, the same court planning consultant that had been on the first team re-entered the room with the second team! This continued throughout the day…the same court planning consultant had teamed with five of the seven or so firms we interviewed! From this experience two things became immediately apparent: 1) There are not many court planning consultants; and 2) The architecture firms recognized how important the role of a court planning consultant is when it comes to designing a courthouse. For architecture firms seeking to add courthouse projects to their portfolio, teaming up with a qualified court planning consultant, one that combines a mix of skill sets that includes both analysis and architecture, can be a perfect fit.

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Case Study: Even Judges Can Surrender Space to Save Money

Posted by Kurt Schlauch on Dec 14, 2017

Topics: Courthouse Space Standards and Functionality, Courthouse Processes and Planning, Courthouse Space Reduction and Utilization

“The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own personal example.” - John Wooden

By Kurt Schlauch, Lead Consultant

Have you ever attended an overcrowded school? Shared a small cubicle at the office? Crowded space is a reality faced by many organizations, including courts. Judges and court managers responsible for controlling space occupancy and expenditures have a range of remedies at their disposal. For example, with advances in technology, courthouse space reduction has been accomplished by shrinking the size of libraries and file rooms. However, the largest quantity of space in many courthouses is associated with the judges — the courtrooms and chambers. Any effort to achieve courthouse space savings may need to address these judicial spaces as well.

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Blending In: How Can a Courthouse Design Reflect the Community?

Posted by Kurt Schlauch on Aug 17, 2017

Topics: Courthouse Renovation/Construction/Economics, Courthouse Aesthetics, Courthouse Processes and Planning

By Kurt Schlauch, Senior Consultant

I recently participated in an “industry day” for a new county courthouse project located in the community I grew up in. The event featured county officials and key stakeholders presenting information on the project background, intended timeframe, and selection criteria. One of the key selection criteria was how well the design connects to the history and character of the local community. More than just visually fitting in with the surrounding area, the architectural style must reflect the values of the citizens it serves and remind them of what makes their community unique.

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Courtroom Mock-Up: Key to Unlocking Successful Design

Posted by Matt Hemphill on Jul 13, 2017

Topics: Courthouse Renovation/Construction/Economics, Courthouse Space Standards and Functionality, Courthouse Processes and Planning, Courthouse Technology

 

By Matt Hemphill, Senior Architect

If you are designing a new courthouse or renovating existing space, seriously consider budgeting time and money for the construction of a courtroom mock-up. I realize that not every courtroom project can have a full-scale model, and many computer programs allow for walk-through animation. However, nothing compares to the feeling of walking through a space and experiencing it. It can save taxpayers money in the long run and will lead to better communication between the design team, general contractor, and end-users.

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Courthouse Planning: What’s Your Next Move?

Posted by Trish Lomonosov on Jul 6, 2017

Topics: Courthouse Security, Courthouse Aesthetics, Courthouse Space Standards and Functionality, Courthouse Processes and Planning, Courthouse Technology

by Trish Lomonosov, Senior Analyst/Planner

If your courthouse space is maxed out, you may find yourself getting pretty creative to repurpose space (think storage closet conversion). Or your operations may be suffering due to the quality of your space. Either way, you may be looking for a sustainable solution but might be overwhelmed by the options, not even knowing where to begin – much like a game of chess. You know you need a strategy but it has not yet crystallized for you. Have you considered undertaking a comprehensive courthouse planning exercise to take a deep dive into analyzing your court’s past and present trends and developing a vision for the future?

Courthouse planning (often referred to as a needs assessment) includes three main elements: an analysis of workload and personnel, an evaluation of your current courthouse, and an execution strategy for projects to improve your space. Together, these elements provide a game plan for improving space, which should, in turn, improve court operations. Let’s focus on these elements one at a time.

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Is Your Courtroom Design Intimidating?

Posted by Keith Fentress on Jun 22, 2017

Topics: Courthouse Aesthetics, Courthouse Space Standards and Functionality, Courthouse Processes and Planning

 

By Keith Fentress, Executive Consultant

Years ago, during a courthouse needs assessment, I had a passing conversation with a defense attorney while I was evaluating courtrooms. She noticed that I was taking space measurements and photographs, and commented that the standards for courtroom design should change because participants often find them overly intimidating. I was thinking to myself, “Isn’t that a good thing – to sit in a sobering space where defendants can feel the weight of their circumstances in a room that reflects the values of the judicial process?

The attorney explained that a courtroom can be so large that it makes an individual feel small. So formal that it is imposing to the participants. So ornate that it is not relatable to the average person, especially those from less affluent backgrounds. From her point of view, the size, formality, and decor combine to produce an intimidating space – and she did not see that as a good thing.

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Courthouse Technology: Paper Files to Virtual Trials

Posted by Kurt Schlauch on May 25, 2017

Topics: Courthouse Processes and Planning, Courthouse Technology, Courthouse Space Reduction and Utilization



By Kurt Schlauch, Senior Consultant

It’s no secret that technology is transforming our daily lives. Phone booths have nearly vanished from urban landscapes (and with the rise in e-commerce, I have to wonder if shopping malls are far behind). With the tiny handheld units responsible for rendering phone booths obsolete, we can now order dinner, pay the mortgage, or hail a taxi.

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Could the New Administration Boost the Use of Public-Private Partnerships for Courthouse Funding?

Posted by Keith Fentress on Apr 13, 2017

Topics: Courthouse Renovation/Construction/Economics, Courthouse Processes and Planning

By Trish Lomonosov, AICP, Senior Analyst / Planner

After spending more than a decade as a courthouse planning consultant, I began studying for the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) certification exam last year. I must admit that the thought of one topic in particular struck fear in my heart and had me running – not walking – for the coffee pot. History, Theory, and Law. Sounds frightening, don’t you think?

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Are Your Jury Facilities Guilty of Neglect? The Verdict is In

Posted by Keith Fentress on Mar 30, 2017

Topics: Courthouse Space Standards and Functionality, Courthouse Processes and Planning

By Alison Jones, Lead Consultant

Six months ago, I received my first ever summons for jury duty. I had somehow eluded it my entire life, but my number was finally up!

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