Experiencing a large increase in courts case load, the Stark County Board of Commissioners determined their historic 1937 Art Deco County Courthouse no longer met the growing demands on County services nor the requirements of today’s Courts System. The building was overcrowded, inflexible and did not meet the 21st-century security needs of the Courts. The grand stair and circulation system of the 1930’s did not provide adequate separation and security between the public, judges, jury, county staff and court-bound prisoners. The County Commission Chamber was undersized, lacked technology and had a view-obstructing column dead-center in the space.
The expansion was located immediately west of the existing symmetrical Courthouse to reserve space for a long-term future expansion to the east. Site constraints, providing separation between the new wing and the existing façade, and maintaining visual primacy of the original Courthouse led to a small 41’x106’ footprint on three levels. This narrow width enabled clear-span column-free flexible office space with floor-to-ceiling glass — filling the space with natural daylight and panoramic views of the neighborhood. The small footprint also allowed for second and third floors to be totally dedicated to States Attorney and Judges’ office suites, respectively.
Original Courthouse functions and circulation system revolved around a central lobby and a grand stair that connects each of the existing three floors. Expanding that circulation system in a logical easily-navigated way while providing both public and secure circulation was critical to the success of the project. Connecting each floor with a glassy link created smoothly flowing space to the new functions on first level and third level while providing both public and secure circulation to the Courtrooms on second floor.
High-quality exterior and interior finishes create a building and spaces that are worthy companions to this landmark Courthouse that is a centerpiece within the Dickinson community.