A new construction courthouse and municipal center with sophisticated safety features and a welcoming aesthetic.
The new courthouse for Hanover County serves the citizens in multiple ways. Along with housing the county’s three distinct courts—District, Circuit, and Juvenile and Domestic Courts—the building holds and preserves all of the public records for the county. With Hanover residents coming and going on a regular basis to take care of everyday municipal services, the courthouse needs to be inviting yet official, easy to navigate, and safe, with an infrastructure that can support security measures.
In addition to these functional considerations, the building was designed and constructed with an aesthetic style that celebrates the county’s rich history.
The three-floor building is marked by distinctive complex masonry and precast for the banding as well as the column facades. For the roof sight line, the county elected to resemble other slate roof facilities in the complex by designing a synthetic roof system that mirrors slate.
The octagonal drive in front of the courthouse with complementing white brick pavers is perhaps one of the most unique exterior features of the site. A far cry from the undeveloped farm land it used to be, the courthouse now has a trademark, though traditional, look of its own.
A project in construction involving a basement always provides for an added layer of difficulty. For this project, even more so. We were required to introduce and set aggregate piers into the subsoil to provide added stability and structure to the grounds. The task’s size and complexity is tough for a casual observer to understand, as all of the substructure work lies below the ground.
The window system allows for a lot of natural light, which helps keep a municipal facility looking welcoming and pleasant. The waiting room in particular is an airy space with recessed drywall details and reveals that give the courthouse a professional appeal.
The courtrooms’ wood paneling and cherry wood benches are the work of talented craftsman and subcontractors that Gulf Seaboard worked with to deliver and install. Each craftsman and worker put meticulous detail into not only producing the wood fixtures but also feeding the necessary various electrical, audiovisual, and communications systems into those assemblies so they would function as designed. Likewise, the acoustic paneling was carefully created to assist in the acoustics of each courtroom while complementing the tone of the other features’ wood finish.
“We worked with the design group and a number of different trades to ensure everything operates above and beyond expectations—for the safety of the guards, the staff, and the public.”
The detention facility below is accessed through a secure sally port on the back side of the building. From there, those awaiting a legal proceeding, are held in a secure part of the building with pneumatic lock and sliding door systems for each holding cell. The security systems are all connected and interlocked throughout, so that the building security can monitor and react from various parts of the building.
An added preventive security measure, a secure parking lot for the operators of the courts has a brick façade screen wall that shelters the area from outside view.
All security measures for the courthouse had to be state of the art. We installed three complex elevators dedicated to additional security, allowing for transportation of those awaiting trial throughout each day. Three different elevators were also installed for the everyday use of the public visitors and county employees. Six distinct elevators in one building are a good measure of the sheer size and complexity of the courthouse.
Modern security technology makes these types of facilities more easily monitored and safer overall, but the intricacy of the infrastructure has to measure up to its specifications. For example, the building features card access technology and camera/video systems that monitor each day’s activities. Gulf Seaboard worked with the design group and a number of different trades to ensure everything operates above and beyond expectations—for the safety of the guards, the staff, and the public.
The Hanover County Courthouse presented its fair share of challenges, from the tight timeline to the security aspects to the unique drywall work to the sheer number of subcontractors we worked with simultaneously. But Gulf Seaboard delivered a finished facility on-schedule and on-budget that will serve its county residents for many, many years to come.
As a company based in Hanover, we were thrilled to grow along with the county during the construction of its new courthouse.