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One More Year for Courthouse Construction

The $86 million justice center will house 16 courtrooms and allow the county to consolidate its offices into one building.

If everything remains on its current track, around this time next year county courthouse employees will begin moving their offices to the new Bucks County Justice Center on Main Street.

That's the estimation from Bucks County Commissioner Rob Loughery, who participated in a guided tour through the project site led by Bucks County Director of Operations Gerald Anderson.

Anderson spent an hour showing reporters around the eight-floor, 165,000 square-foot facility, highlighting new features that he says will create more efficiencies and safety features in the courthouse's operations.

For example, an administrative office will be located between two jury rooms, allowing one person to monitor two rooms at once. A dedicated elevator will allow the sheriff's department to transport prisoners in custody to holding cells located next to the courtrooms. At the current courthouse, when suspects are transported in the common elevators, the rest of the general public is barred from the lift.

According to Loughery and Anderson, the project costs are at $86 million, approximately $15 million below the estimate calculated three years ago. The project's start date got pushed back a few months as county officials worked through roadblocks in the approval process, including providing a plan to keep a portion of the Doylestown Armory incorporated into the building's design, preserving an important historic site.

Once completed, the justice center will have 16 court rooms in operation on the third, fourth and fifth floors, with the capacity to add three more if needed. The expanded space will allow the county to bring in offices scattered throughout Doylestown Borough, including the human resources department and the family courts. Those vacated buildings will most likely be sold, said Commissioner Charles Martin. Any offices and personnel that don't fit inside the justice center will backfill the old courthouse, said Loughery.

The most dramatic upgrades from the old courthouse to the justice center, however, won't be seen until closer to the project's end, according to Loughery.

"The audio-visual technology and the IT, that's where the biggest differences are," the commissioner said.
Pam December 17, 2013 at 08:29 AM
So let me get this right, my taxpayer dollars to the tune of $86 million is being spent for a fancy new huge courthouse building that will be big enough for everyone in the justice dept and enough room for future expansion and offices and fancy audio-visual technology BUT we're not SELLING the old courthouse to offset the cost to taxpayers of this new fancy expensive new building? You are KEEPING the old courthouse 'just in case' you need space and backfill it with people who don't fit into the new 'HUGE/room for expansion' justice center building?? Sound to me like someone forgot a basic step: to COUNT the number of people moving into the new building. Once again taxpayer money wasted with no regard, no accountability to the people you serve.
Nitrogirl December 17, 2013 at 10:08 PM
It took only one year and 54 days to build the a Empire State Building and they finished ahead of schedule. Look how far we've come.

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