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New Wake courthouse designed for public access, safety

Posted June 10, 2013

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— The Wake County Justice Center will open this week, $30 million under budget and weeks ahead of schedule.

The 11-story, 577,000-square-foot building on Martin Street between McDowell and Salisbury streets replaces Wake County's 44-year-old courthouse on Fayetteville Street.

An expanse of marble, steel and light, the $184 million Justice Center was built with the public in mind.

Wake County Justice Center sign Wake court system gets major update

"We wanted to make this a customer-friendly building," said David Goodwin, Wake County's general services administrator. "You can find your way around very quickly, then get in and then get out."

The old courthouse elevators were painfully slow and cramped. The Justice Center has 17 elevators to speed people to and from the 40 courtrooms – almost double the number in the old courthouse.

"There are elevators for the public, elevators for the staff and security elevators that bring inmates up," Goodwin said.

Traffic court, which is typically the busiest, is on the first floor to cut down on the number of people wandering the halls.

To enhance security, 200 video cameras are placed strategically throughout the building.

The Justice Center will open in phases, beginning with the Wake County Revenue Department and Register of Deeds offices opening Wednesday.

Civil and family court hearings will remain in the old courthouse.

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  • dwntwnboy2 Jun 12, 2013

    "You still have to wait and wait for an elevator."- how do we know that? The building hasn't even opened yet, it may be the most efficient elevator system you have ever seen- we'll have to wait and see.....couldn't be ANY worse than the current courthouse short of having to climb a rope ladder! LOL

  • LastSon1981 Jun 12, 2013

    With $30 million, let's hope someone thought of installing ESCALATORS instead of just adding on more of the same elevators to move the floor transport. Geez, 17?. You still have to wait and wait for an elevator.

    mhsmith

    With 30 million they should also have judges with low cut robes that hand out candy with sentences.

  • mhsmith Jun 12, 2013

    Relic- That is pandering Nonsense. Breathing and driving a car "poses a hazard" so let's hope they are left out? We adults do not need a nanny to babysit and not want to sit and wait and wait and wait for an elevator. Escalators and moving sidewalks are used elsewhere and make perfect sense to keep a flow moving.

  • wwrwheel Jun 12, 2013

    The elevators in the current (old) Courthouse are a joke, and not a funny one.

  • Relic Jun 12, 2013

    mhsmith - Escalators are not a good choice in a public building except in cases like airports where they're unavoidable. They use a lot of power, pose a fall and accident hazard (a mall has a LOT more money and insurance to pay off claims than your county does)and leave a large open area with a lot of people to people contact for security concerns. Let's hope they left them out.

  • ILoveDowntownRaleigh Jun 12, 2013

    "Anyone that says this wasn't needed or a "waste of money" has never been all the way through the lab mouse maze of the current courthouse. It's dirty, poorly lit, dangerously unsecure, horribly wired and totally unable to utilize more effective wireless and computer communication. You can't renovate a court building while it's constantly in use. So here's looking to see if the old building is used effectively. As far as parking I've been to the original courthouse and several state offices downtown and I've never had a problem finding parking at a deck as long as I was willing to get a bit of fresh air walking a reasonable distance to my destination. People in NC and the US in general have to understand that you MUST update public buildings and infrastructure." - Relic

    Nice post - well said.

  • mhsmith Jun 12, 2013

    With $30 million, let's hope someone thought of installing ESCALATORS instead of just adding on more of the same elevators to move the floor transport. Geez, 17?. You still have to wait and wait for an elevator.

  • Relic Jun 12, 2013

    Anyone that says this wasn't needed or a "waste of money" has never been all the way through the lab mouse maze of the current courthouse. It's dirty, poorly lit, dangerously unsecure, horribly wired and totally unable to utilize more effective wireless and computer communication. You can't renovate a court building while it's constantly in use. So here's looking to see if the old building is used effectively. As far as parking I've been to the original courthouse and several state offices downtown and I've never had a problem finding parking at a deck as long as I was willing to get a bit of fresh air walking a reasonable distance to my destination. People in NC and the US in general have to understand that you MUST update public buildings and infrastructure.

  • dwntwnboy2 Jun 11, 2013

    "Take a walk through the existing Wake County Courthouse on a weekday and you will see empty unused courtrooms"- and you will also see a building that is outdated, slow elevators, dark, dank and just an ugly place to be. The new courthouse is sorely needed and will be a great tool in helping to clear the backlog of cases as there will be more spaces to hear them. We now have a courthouse that is big enough to keep up with a growing city and county of our size. The "old" courthouse is just that....OLD. Love the fact they came in 30 million UNDER budget- when was the last time anyone could say that about ANYTHING done by government? Way to go Wake Co.!!

  • joeBob Jun 11, 2013

    "customer friendly" "get in and get out"...just bring your checkbook and a lawyer.

    I hope I never have to set foot in it as a customer or a juror.

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