Last Thursday (June 9), the Common Pleas Committee held its final meeting of the year at the new Franklin County Courthouse. I had been looking forward to seeing the new courthouse, and learning more about the new technology that the courthouse now has.
Before the courthouse opened, I had a chance to get a tour of the building. My tour was nearly a year ago, and the courtrooms were works-in-progress. Obviously, the completed courtrooms looked much different than they did last July.
The new courtrooms were far more spacious and lighter than the courtrooms in the old Hall of Justice. None of the courtrooms are circular; all provided lots of light, including natural light. The acoustics were also much better in the new courtrooms. Further, the “green” design was evident from the moment you step into the building. Because of the design of the building, you really only need to see half of one floor to know the layout of the courtrooms and chambers.
While in the building, of course, I took a gander at the front-page worthy staircase to seek what the fuss — and national attention — was all about. As I promised my followers on Twitter, I did not peep(!). Although I appreciate Judge Lynch’s concerns, I do not think that the staircase takes away from the building’s overall design.
During the Committee meeting, the Committee heard from Dan Stover, who demonstrated the new “evidence carts,” containing a document camera/Elmo-type unit, a DVD/Blu-Ray player, and inputs for equipment, and a touch screen to control the unit. Dan is the main contact person for further questions or concerns regarding the use of the evidence cart. He can be reached at 525-2778 or at Daniel_Stover@fccourts.org. The Committee also learned that there are only two evidence carts per floor of the courtroom, so those carts need to be reserved (by notifying the bailiff) in advance of trial or hearing.
During the meeting, the Committee also received several helpful reference materials: the new courthouse courtroom assignments; a new telephone directory (as of June 9, 2011); and the evidence cart quick reference guide, among other materials.