Local News

New Wake courthouse designed for public access, safety

Posted June 10, 2013 5:14 p.m. EDT
Updated June 10, 2013 6:19 p.m. EDT

— 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.

"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.