October 04, 2018

Facility Floor Plans Finalized and Approved

The design and floor plans for the new Judicial Center, renovations to the Courthouse Annex, and renovations to the Old Courthouse have been finalized and approved by the Board of Commissioners.

The design and floor plans for the new Judicial Center, renovations to the Courthouse Annex, and renovations to the Old Courthouse have been finalized and approved by the Board of Commissioners on Thursday morning. The final plans will result in the co-location of court-related offices in a downtown courthouse campus setting.

The Judicial Center, Courthouse Annex, Old Courthouse, Archives Building, and Administration Building sites are all part of the Court Facility Improvement Project—a multi-faceted project to address long-standing needs for improved security, efficiency and space. Since the last major expansion of court facilities in 1979, Franklin County has had a 37% population increase and added three judges with related support staff, Assistant District Attorneys, Public Defenders, and other court staff to a courthouse constructed for two presiding judges. Project Manager John Hart presented the updated floor plans to the board noting that the plans are very similar to what was first presented in January.

“The footprints are very familiar, but the level of detail is greater,” said Commissioner Chairman Dave Keller. “The goal is to have all court-related offices on a centralized campus and we were able to achieve that. It’s a solid plan,” he said. “We have an excellent team determined to keep this complex project on time and within budget,” he added.

Mr. Hart reviewed the courthouse project budget with the board. It showed the  courthouse construction and renovations budgeted at $52.6M. “This is not a $67M courthouse, this is a $67M budgeted project,” he said.

Commissioner Bob Thomas commented on the current need for improved ADA accessibility and that this project will allow buildings to become truly accessible. “It’s an ambitious project, but we can’t deny it is needed,” he said.

The Commissioners’ Office, currently housed in the former Chambersburg Trust Building, will be moving to 340 N. Second Street on October 15th and demolition on the first block of Main Street will begin shortly after to make way for the new judicial center. “The Chambersburg Trust Building has served us well, but it cannot take us safely or efficiently into the future,” said Commissioner Thomas.

The Chambersburg Trust Building was purchased by the County in 2010 in an effort to save money on rental expense. At the time of purchase, the County was paying approximately $146,000 annually to lease the first floor. Upon acquiring the building for $1.5M, the county’s agreements with lease holders has resulted in an annual average income of $94,000.  

“Overall, the purchase of the building was a prudent investment and its ownership, especially in light of the need for the facilities project, has proven beneficial. There’s always the possibility of having to deal with inflated property purchase prices based on demand. Fortunately for this building, we didn’t have to,” said Commissioner Bob Ziobrowski.

The new Judicial Center, which will be constructed where the Chambersburg Trust Building currently stands, will be set back from the Old Courthouse in order to broaden the plaza and highlight the Old Courthouse as a focal point of the downtown square. Building components are being chosen based on the durability, longevity, and ease of maintenance for the most efficient building life-cycle and responsible use of taxpayer dollars. The Judicial Center will have six courtrooms with the ability to add a seventh courtroom, if needed, in the future. “The new courthouse will serve many generations to come, but the Old Courthouse and its 1865 construction will always be the center of justice in Franklin County,” said Commissioner Thomas.

Commissioner Ziobrowski agreed that the new architecture works well with the Old Courthouse, but noted that the aesthetics of the building are a bonus. “Functionality and security are key,” he said.

Upon project completion, the following offices will be located in the Judicial Center:

  • Clerk of Courts
  • Judges’ Chambers and judicial support staff
  • Prothonotary
  • Sheriff

Upon project completion, these offices will be located in the Courthouse Annex:

  • Adult Probation
  • District Attorney
  • Domestic Relations
  • Juvenile Probation
  • Magisterial District Court 39-2-01:  Borough of Chambersburg
  • Existing 911 Services

Upon project completion, offices that will be located in the Old Courthouse include:

  • Juvenile Hearing Master
  • Public Defender

Construction of an Administration Building on North Second Street to co-locate offices for improved efficiency and better customer service is also part of the Court Facility Improvement Plan.

Upon project completion, offices that will be located in the new Administration Building on North Second Street include:

  • Accounts Payable
  • Commissioners’ Office
  • Controller
  • Criminal Justice Advisory Board & Grants Management
  • Human Resources & Risk Management
  • Information Technology
  • Planning and Tax Services
  • Property Management
  • Register & Recorder
  • Treasurer
  • Voter Registration

The Court Facility Improvement Project Timeline* 

October 15th – The Commissioners’ Office moves to 340 N. Second Street

Oct/Nov 2018 – Bidding process will begin for the Archive facility

Nov 2018 – Area around demolition site on first block of Main Street will be fenced; demolition of buildings on first block of Main Street; demolition of Sheetz building on N Second Street

End of January 2019 – Demolition complete

First quarter of 2019 - Construction of new Judicial Center to start

*This is a tentative timeline and subject to change.

Up-to-date Court Facility Improvement Project information is available on the project web page on the County’s website, www.franklincountypa.gov. For project inquiries, please e-mail: facilityprojectinfo@franklincountypa.gov.


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