Local News

Wake County to break ground on new justice center

Posted May 10, 2010 5:32 a.m. EDT
Updated May 10, 2010 1:17 p.m. EDT

— Wake County leaders will break ground Monday afternoon on a justice center designed to be newer, bigger and safer – to replace the existing courthouse built in 1969.

Every day, approximately 5,000 people move among the 22 courtrooms of the Wake County Courthouse at Salisbury and Fayetteville streets in downtown Raleigh. More than 200,000 cases are filed there every year.

To meet the needs of a growing population and advances in security technology, county leaders allotted about $214 million for the 11-story, 577,000-square-foot Wake County Justice Center to be built at the intersections of Martin, McDowell and Salisbury streets.

“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,” said Clerk of Courts Lorrin Freeman.

The new facility would offer almost double the space – 22 more courtrooms, 17 elevators and an escalator. It is expected to meet the county’s needs for the next 30 to 50 years.

Some county commissioners were concerned about spending the money on construction in the midst of a recession, but they were convinced by the low interest rate they were able to get on the bonds for the project.

So far, the project is $26 million under the original estimate. It is expected to be complete as soon as 2013.

The current courthouse will continue to house civil court and family court.