The County Commissioners, the President Judge, and Buchart Horn Architects, through extensive planning and consensus building, determined the short-term and future needs for the Dauphin County Courthouse.
The courthouse is prominently located in the downtown business district of Harrisburg and within walking distance of the State Capitol. Erected in 1941, the six-story, 140,000 SF marble landmark is recognized on the National Register of Historic Places.
In order to maintain all courtrooms on the third and fifth floors, the fourth floor being jury deliberation and upper portions of courtrooms on the third level, the new courtroom displaces the law library on the fifth floor. Great care was taken to maintain all artifacts and incorporate them into the new courtroom, while assuring proper traffic flows, courtroom technology, and courtroom security.
The renovation program was phased and the building was occupied and functioning during construction. The design included a new state of the art courtroom; Judges' chamber suites; relocation of the law library to include electronic retrieval systems; and relocation and expansion of jury assembly to accommodate a larger juror pool.
Also included were two new 5,000 lb. elevators to accommodate secure juror movement. The new elevators can be controlled to coordinate with the existing passenger elevators or be taken off line to provide secure passage of the jurors to the appropriate levels of the courthouse. Courthouse security and upgrades in both new and existing areas were phased with the construction. New and replacement infrastructure assemblies were accomplished in a phased construction process. All affected areas were brought up to ADA standards.