OPENING OF STATELY NEW WORCESTER TRIAL COURT
CELEBRATED BY HUNDREDS OF WELL WISHERS
The newly built Worcester courthouse at 225 Main Street attracted hundreds of well wishers today in an opening celebration featuring Governor Deval Patrick, Lt. Governor Timothy Murray, Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall, Chief Justice for Administration and Management Robert A. Mulligan, House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, State Senators Harriet Chandler and Edward Augustus, Jr., as well as many Chief Justices, judges, attorneys, court employees, and members of the public.
The Worcester Trial Court, which opened for business in September, houses the Worcester District Court, Housing Court, Juvenile Court, Probate and Family Court, the Superior Court, and an office for the Worcester County District Attorney. It is the largest courthouse in the Commonwealth with 430,000 square feet. The modern, four-story judicial center contains 26 courtrooms, conference rooms for lawyers and clients, jury deliberation rooms, and a Grand Jury room.
“This comprehensive, regional courthouse is a tribute to the commitment of the leaders of all three branches of government to the building and renovation of courthouses across the Commonwealth, said Chief Justice Marshall. “It is evidence of our shared obligation to ensure that the command of the Massachusetts Constitution that an ‘impartial administration of justice is essential to the preservation of the rights of every individual’ find concrete expression in safe, clean, and accessible courthouses.”
“Throughout history, Massachusetts has advanced America’s pursuit of equality, opportunity and fair play to every citizen,” said Governor Patrick. “Today we welcome this court to that legacy. Thanks to the hard work and commitment of our state and local officials and all members of the community, this courthouse – the largest in the Commonwealth – has become a reality.”
New information technology and digital audio recording systems, secure detention areas, handicapped accessibility, and a café are some of the courthouse features. A monumental staircase in the building’s front lobby serves as a focal point in the stately courthouse. The courtrooms are bathed in natural light from huge, pane-glass windows.
“Today’s opening of the Worcester Trial Court marks the realization of years of hard work to replace court buildings dating to before the Civil War, said House of Representatives Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi. “The importance of this project cannot be overstated and was never lost on the members of the House of Representatives – in assisting with the administration of justice, in helping revitalize the downtown area and improving the quality of life for the region.”
Designed by Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson and Abbott Architects, the courthouse was built by Gilbane Building Company. Construction began in July 2004, and the total project cost was $180 million with funding from the 1998 Courthouse Facilities Bond Bill.
Chief Justice Mulligan, who served as master of ceremonies, said, “Today we make history as the halls of justice in Worcester move into the 21st century. The beauty, functionality and solidity displayed here underscore our commitment that all who come to this courthouse will understand justice as the essential cornerstone of a free society.”
Other speakers at the event were Juvenile Court Chief Justice Martha P. Grace, Commissioner David B. Perini of the Division of Capital Asset Management, Senator Harriette L. Chandler, Senator Edward M. Augustus, Jr., former Worcester County District Attorney John J. Conte, Clerk Magistrate Thomas J. Noonan of the Worcester District Court, and James Gavin Reardon, Jr., president of the Worcester County Bar Association.
Participating in the festivities were the Holy Cross Chamber Singers and the Worcester Fire Department’s Pipe and Drum Brigade. A photographic exhibit of Worcester courthouses by the Worcester Historical Society, sponsored by the Worcester Bar Association, was displayed in the courthouse. Courthouse tours for the public were provided following the event.
View photos from the opening celebration