Heading into first phase of facilities assessment, design guidelines.

The final Capital Plan will be the result of a collaborative process with DCAMM (Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance) and the Trial Court. The plan now heads into its first phase of facility assessment, followed by the creation of revised design guidelines that will establish maximum flexibility and use of space.

Prior to creating the Capital Plan, DCAMM requested that the Trial Court finalize its Strategic Plan to better define the needs and direction that capital planning must take into account.

The Capital Plan will chart a course of action for Trial Court renovations and improvements through 2025. The new plan will provide a framework to prioritize improvements and major renovations of the Trial Court’s 100 buildings, which were constructed during four distinct periods: pre-1900, around 1930, around 1970, and since 1998. Courthouse age is somewhat independent of condition – there are older buildings that have been recently restored, while some newer buildings will need system upgrades and other improvements.

The Office of Court Management will use the plan’s findings to develop a legislative bond request for capital investment for renovations, repairs, and construction of new regional justice centers.

 

Background & Context: Trial Court Strategic Planning

Capital improvements and replacement of court facilities over the past 15 years have been funded through major bond authorizations from 1998 and 2008 which were guided by the prior capital plan. Almost all of these funds have been expended and although much progress has been made, there remain significant and ongoing capital improvement needs.

After a rigorous process, in 2013 the Trial Court finalized a formal Strategic Plan to establish and implement a range of court-wide process improvements that reflect “One Mission: Justice with Dignity and Speed.”

While the Strategic Plan focuses primarily on business operations, certain facilities-related themes surfaced during the planning process that will help inform the Capital Plan process:

  1. Improving facility conditions for employee and user safety, dignity, and to mitigate major liabilities
  2. Building regional justice centers for more effective utilization of resources, including personnel
  3. Supplementing visits to courthouses through implementation of website and online transactions, such as case information, credit card payments, e-filing, and expanded use of video conferencing
  4. Eliminating courthouse congestion and improving public accommodation with staggered scheduling, extended hours, and better jury utilization
  5. Creating more private meeting spaces and mediation rooms to facilitate Alternative Dispute Resolution, problem-solving courts, etc.

 

From Vision to Reality: Next Steps

In June, DCAMM, with Trial Court input, selected consultants CGL/RicciGreene to facilitate the planning process and help prioritize needs. The team of consultants has already led a five-hour capital plan visioning process to define strategy and short- and long-term goals.

The visioning exercise also tackled other Strategic Plan considerations, including: development of guidelines for the planning and design of signage and way-finding, access to justice initiatives, technology impact on space requirements, use of Specialty Courts, and establishing standards for building cleanliness and maintenance.

CGL/RicciGreene has begun to work with Facilities Management, the Court Capital Projects, and the Security Department to schedule visits to court buildings. This process will also enable the Court to estimate the total cost of maintaining court buildings over the next decade. We’ll keep you posted as planning progresses, and a final Capital Plan takes shape.