November 17, 2021

Franklin County Christens New Judicial Center

Judicial Center Ribbon Cutting

The Franklin County Commissioners, judges of the 39th Judicial District Court, county officials and project and community partners celebrate the grand opening of the Franklin County Judicial Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. (CREDIT: Julia Lehman/Noelker and Hull Associates)


Officials Tout Facility’s Safety Improvements, Efficiency, Convenience


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. – The Franklin County Commissioners today ushered in a new era by formally celebrating the grand opening of the county’s newest court facility, the Franklin County Judicial Center.


Built adjacent to the county’s iconic historic courthouse and the Courthouse Annex on Chambersburg’s Memorial Square, the new two-story, 108,113-square foot facility is home to six courtrooms, judges’ chambers and office suites for support staff. The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, the Clerk of Courts/Orphans’ Court and the Prothonotary’s office have also relocated to the new building at 14 N. Main St.


The judicial center offers improvements through technological and operational efficiencies, co-location of court operations and advanced security measures to meet the needs of today’s court system. Its design also provides sufficient space for the county’s current needs while allowing for future expansion, if needed.


With the addition of the judicial center, all Franklin County court offices will be co-located into one downtown campus. Consolidating operations will increase accessibility and convenience for the public, court officials and county staff and is expected to reduce expenses by approximately $8 million over 20 years.


“The new judicial center will benefit county residents well into the future, and the improvements in safety, security, efficiency and quality of justice are something all of us can be proud of,” said Dave Keller, Franklin County Commissioner and Board Chairman.


“The new judicial center will provide an improved experience for litigants, counsel, court staff and the judiciary on a day-to-day basis,” said President Judge Shawn Meyers. “Compared to existing facilities, the new judicial center not only has courtrooms that can accommodate the needs of the disabled, it also has a significant number of conference rooms and places for counsel to privately confer with clients, which assists in the orderly processing of cases.”


The Judicial Center has been in the making for more than a decade. Franklin County last expanded its court facilities in 1979. Since then, the county has experienced a 37% population growth and has added a host of judicial positions – including three judges, assistant district attorneys, public defenders and other associated court staff. The 1979 facility’s inadequate space and layout also threatened to compromise public safety and jeopardize the integrity of the judicial process.


Studies conducted in 2009 justified a significant expansion of court facilities, but economic conditions at the time delayed the project. Finally, in 2018, the Commissioners approved a multifaceted court facilities improvement project that included the construction of a new Judicial Center, renovations to the county’s Historic Courthouse and Courthouse Annex, and the construction of two new buildings, an Administration Building and an Archives Facility.


Construction on the Judicial Center, designed by Noelker and Hull Associates Inc. and Silling Architects, began in 2019. Franklin Advisory oversaw construction management services on the project with Lobar Inc. serving as the general contractor and electrician for the new building. Numerous Franklin County-based or locally owned companies contributed to the project, including Stouffer Mechanical Contractor, Chambersburg, which handled both the plumbing and HVAC system for the facility.


The project was supported by a $1.5 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant, used to offset costs associated with demolition and site preparation.


To celebrate its completion and grand opening, the Commissioners will be hosting a free public open house at the Judicial Center from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday. The community is invited to tour the new facility and learn more about services available to the public.


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