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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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Courtroom Design for Handicap Access

Posted by Ted Prestogeorge on Nov 2, 2017

Topics: Courthouse Renovation/Construction/Economics, Courtroom Design

 

By Ted Prestogeorge and Alan Ruby, Senior Architectural Consultants

Reconciling accessibility requirements with objectives for visibility between trial participants in a courtroom can be a challenge for court planners and architects. This blog focuses on courtroom design requirements and possible solutions for accommodating handicap access for trial participants.

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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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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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Building Upon History: A Historic Courthouse Renovation Success Story

Posted by Keith Fentress on Mar 2, 2017

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

By Ted Prestogeorge, Senior Architectural Consultant

Each year, I assess more than two dozen courthouses of varying size and character. At the end of each assessment, I recommend an architectural approach to meet the current and future space needs of the court. For historic courthouses with strict preservation requirements in downtown areas, coming up with a workable and affordable solution can be a challenge. This blog presents one such instance and the way an exceptional historic courthouse was preserved via an addition and renovation of existing space.

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Something Old, Something New: Adaptive Reuse for Courthouses

Posted by Keith Fentress on Dec 8, 2016

Topics: Courthouse Renovation/Construction/Economics

By Ted Prestogeorge, Senior Architectural Consultant

For courts that are out of space or living with an aging courthouse that doesn’t easily accommodate changing technologies and processes, a new courthouse is a desirable solution. Unfortunately, it’s rarely that easy, especially considering that new courthouse construction can run in the tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars. Fortunately, a new courthouse doesn’t necessarily mean a new building. One solution is revitalizing older commercial or other non-court buildings and adapting them to serve as new court facilities. This option benefits both the government (which doesn’t have to fund an expensive new construction project) and the community.

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Spaced Out: How Increasing Workload Affects Courthouse Space Needs

Posted by Keith Fentress on Sep 29, 2016

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

By Kurt Schlauch, Senior Consultant

Courts, like any other public or private organization, often face hectic schedules, busy workloads, and associated challenges, including courthouse space needs. In business, more work often requires more employees; likewise with courts, more work often requires a corresponding increase in the number of judges and staff needed to manage the cases. However, courts must confront unique challenges in predicting workload increases, which are normally driven by factors entirely out of their control, and identifying satisfactory short- and long-term housing solutions.

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Recipe for Successful Courthouse Planning: Equal Parts Analysis and Architecture

Posted by Keith Fentress on Jun 23, 2016

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

Keith Fentress, Executive Consultant

On the surface, the disciplines of architecture and advanced analytics might seem mutually exclusive. However, over 25 years of courthouse planning experience have proven to me that, like a well-designed building, effective courthouse planning requires a foundation. Analytics provides that foundation. Consider the following necessary steps in constructing or renovating a courthouse:

  • Assessing the existing courthouse to determine its condition and ability to promote the efficient administration of justice
  • Identifying opportunities to improve space to better support court operations
  • Identifying the limitations that would hinder, or even preclude, such improvements
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New Courthouse Projects Begin at the Starting Gate

Posted by Keith Fentress on Dec 24, 2015

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


Today, I will elaborate on the benefits of performing a needs assessment, focusing on how proper planning from the beginning phase of a courthouse improvement project can avoid both wasted time and extra expenses as the project progresses through its subsequent phases.

A program to plan, design, and construct a new courthouse or a major renovation project for an existing courthouse is a lengthy and complicated effort that can take many years to complete as it works its way through multiple project phases.

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