Local News

New Justice Center Aims to Ease Overcrowding

Posted February 11, 2008 11:42 p.m. EST
Updated February 12, 2008 12:09 a.m. EST

— The number of court cases in Wake County is expected to more than double by the year 2030. To keep up with the growth, the county is building a new justice center in downtown Raleigh.

The county held its first public meeting Monday night on the $214 million project.

Up to 5,000 people end up at the Wake County Courthouse every day, and more than 200,000 cases were filed last year.

"With the volume of people coming in and the number of cases we have in Wake County, we literally are running out of room in our current space,” Wake County Clerk of Superior Court Lorrin Freeman said.

With so many cases, it is difficult to find enough space for employees.

"When they run out of space in the clerk's office, the files are taken up to the 12th floor to a room dedicated entirely to old files," Freeman said. "It's inefficient having to get from here to all the way on the 12th floor to retrieve a file and then get back down to the first."

The new Wake County Justice Center will help solve the problem. It will also house some county offices.

County officials said the project will accommodate the growth and increased traffic in the court system for the next 30 to 50 years.

"One key to our society is that we offer fair and swift justice to all and to be able to do that we need a courthouse that can offer that service to the citizens in that manner," Wake County Facilities Director Phil Stout said.

Construction will begin in 2009 and is scheduled to be complete by 2013. The county is hosting three more public meetings from 5 to 7 p.m. at the following locations:

Knightdale Town Hall (Monday, Feb. 18)
950 Steeple Square Court

Northern Regional Center (Tuesday, Feb. 12)
350 E. Holding Ave.
Wake Forest

West Regional Library (Tuesday, Feb. 19)
4000 Louis Stephens Drive