VITETTA is currently designing a new courts facility of approximately 143,335 square feet adjacent to the existing Courthouse to accommodate the needs of the Criminal Courts. This facility will accommodate Criminal Courts space needs projected to the year 2025. This new structure will contain nine Criminal Courts with accompanying Chambers, secure prisoner holding and Jury deliberation spaces, and will be organized by separate circulation systems for public, private/staff and in-custody persons. The Criminal Courthouse project is the first phase of a multi-phase project to accommodate the needs of the court. The phases were developed to implement the needs identified in the VITETTA Superior Courts Needs Assessment in a manner more suited to the County’s budget. The courthouse will also house Criminal Case Management and the administrative offices of the Criminal Court. This work follows an intensive Program Verification process that re-assessed the needs of the Courts, both Civil and Criminal, to determine the current and projected spatial shortfall to be accommodated in this project. This verification study updated a previous study prepared by VITETTA in 1996.
The design of the new structure will respond to the historic character of the area, particularly the existing Criminal Courthouse. The design was also developed to anticipate future growth and facilitate the development of a justice complex including the existing courthouses (Criminal and Civil) as well as the space between the two structures. This structure will have a commanding presence on South Warren Street as it will face toward the center of downtown Trenton. It will respect the historic setting of the area, including the neighboring Mill Hill Park and Historic District. The new courthouse will also form the boundary between the courts complex and several residential areas - another important urban planning feature of the project. The project site work will include carefully considered steps and ramps to address accessibility issues and maintain an image of importance. The site work is also designed to incorporate the proper level of security without creating a compound. Given the topography of the site, special attention will be given addressing ADA access issues. Also, due to the restricted site the building setback will be limited thus requiring special attention to security planning.