Board of Supervisors Meeting Date: 

Facilities Planning and Implementation Committee

May 17, 2004

Staff Lead:


Anthony I. Hooper, Deputy County Administrator

County Administration


A Work Session to Review Design Options for the Courthouse

Topic Description:


At the meeting of the Facilities Planning and Implementation Committee (FPIC) held on Tuesday, May 11, 2004, the committee reviewed design options for the courthouse improvements.  Some background regarding this issue may be helpful.


In June 2003, a work session was held with the Board and project architects to review the proposed design for improvements to the Courthouse.  At the work session, the Board requested the architect to consider design options that would allow for the construction of new courtrooms in the courthouse. 


In July 2003, a report concerning further study of expansion concepts was presented to the Board.  The report provided four scenarios:


Scenario One: Original Space Re: Allocation


This represents the current plan to provide for realignment of the fourth floor for the offices of the Commonwealth’s Attorney and the Circuit Court Judge.  It includes a restricted access elevator between the courtrooms and Judge’s chambers.  Estimated Cost: $2,650,000


Scenario Two: Relocate the Courtrooms to the Fourth Floor


A small expansion was required to provide core facilities such as an elevator, stairways and restrooms.  The concept required relocating Community Development from the third floor.  Estimated Cost: $7,550,000


Scenario Three: Horizontal Building Expansion


Provides additional space that allow for new courtrooms and court support space located on the same floor.  Estimate Cost: $9,100,000


Scenario Four: Reconfigure Existing Courtrooms


Studies the possible conversion of the existing two-level Circuit courtrooms to one-level courtrooms.


This scenario was substantially more expensive than Scenario One and presented other serious deficiencies.  It was not recommended for further consideration.


At the June 2003 work session, the Board selected Scenario One and work progressed to develop this concept more fully.  A number of meetings were held between the departments and architect to effectively allocate space under this plan.


As the design development proceeded, the architect presented new cost estimates for Scenario One.  A detailed cost estimate reported that the costs were expected to increase from $2,650,000 to $3,600,000.  These issues were discussed with the committee in February 2004.  The design of the project was put on hold and the architect reviewed possible cost savings options.  His report is contained in a letter of March 3, 2004, which was included on the March 2004 FPIC agenda.  The FPIC reviewed this project, as well as the project to improve the Adult Detention Center, and considered a number of different approaches to reduce the anticipated project costs.  During these discussions, it was suggested that the restricted internal elevator be replaced by making one of the existing elevators partially restricted, or that an exterior elevator be constructed.  There was also consideration of reconfiguring the fourth floor office layout to take advantage of existing walls and finishes in order to reduce costs.  Attached is a letter from the architect regarding these issues.


The issue of the courthouse design and budget was on the March agenda of the FPIC.  Mr. Robison did not attend the March 2004 meeting due to illness.  The committee meeting was held as scheduled and after reviewing the matter, Mr. Downey authorized the architect to continue with the development of drawings and specifications based on the original concept.  In order to reduce costs, it was suggested that the courthouse and jail improvements be bid as a package and that additional bidders be solicited.  Attached are the minutes of the March 2004 meeting.


Prior to the May meeting of the FPIC, Mr. Robison indicated that he did not concur with the plan to continue with the original design concepts. He supports the elimination of the elevator and redesign of the fourth floor space to reduce the project costs.


The issue was discussed again at the May FPIC meeting.  Mr. Downey and Mr. Robison have different opinions regarding this matter and therefore, have asked that the full Board consider this issue.


The design work on the project is complete and has been referred to the Construction Management contractor for review.  It is anticipated that the project will be bid July or August 2004, based on the original design concepts, unless the Board wishes to proceed in a different manner.


Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors: 

Determine how to proceed with the project.


Financial Impacts Analysis:

Anticipated cost savings from proposed revisions to the fourth floor space plan and elimination of the elevator.  Possible cost increases related to the delay of the project and redesign.


Identify any other Departments, Organizations or Individuals that would be affected by this request:

Circuit Court Clerk

Circuit Court Judge


Commissioner of the Revenue

Community Development

Commonwealth’s Attorney