Durham County Courthouse and Justice Center
The Durham County Courthouse is an 11-story, 320,000 SF structural steel courthouse building with a natural stone, architectural precast concrete and curtainwall façade. The building includes 20 courtrooms with adjacent temporary detention facilities, as well as a large detention area on the ground floor. The facility also includes:
- Secure connector that ties into the neighboring jail facility
- 29 holding cells
- Eight sally port sliding doors
- 911 call center with tiered raised access flooring
- General office/operations for the various county courts and sheriffs' offices
The courthouse is designed to keep inmates away from judges, witnesses, employees and the public. There are 14 elevators in the facility, including three in the parking deck, six for the public, two for judges, two for inmates and one service elevator. In high-security areas, all of the doors, frames, hardware, accessories, and even the caulk were provided by a detention equipment subcontractor. The secure walls include vertical and horizontal reinforcement, the ceilings are built with a secure mesh and the ductwork has bars on them. Additional security features include:
- 200 cameras
- 175 card readers for doors
- 70 doors with detention/release features
- 87 duress buttons
- 60 intercoms
Main entry into the facility includes a three-story Ceremonial Staircase. The staircase is adjacent to an art wall that is comprised of hundreds of historical photos arranged in a pattern that depicts the original historic Durham Courthouse. The art wall is made up of 3form panels with backlighting.
The project also includes a 260,000 SF parking deck with 897 spaces. Judge parking is separated by 20-foot-tall screen walls with high-speed, roll-up doors and aluminum canopies. Upon entering the building, the judges go directly to the secure judge’s elevator lobby, allowing them to access the specific floor/office separate from the public and inmates.
This project achieved LEED® Gold certification. Some of the sustainable elements include green roofs, irrigation and stormwater cisterns, water-efficient plumbing fixtures and energy-efficient lighting.
The green-colored Burlington Slate is the feature of the building. The slate covers the main entry and feature stairway both inside and out. The stone, which comes from England, is represented in nearly all the courtrooms on the wall– behind the judge’s bench and on the vestibule entering each courtroom. The stone that was set into the precast panels at both the garage and the courthouse took extensive coordination between the stone supplier/fabricator, the precast subcontractors, Whiting-Turner and the design team. Additionally, the building features extensive use of a tan Avorio limestone throughout the public areas on all floors. The limestone is quarried from Croatia.