LEED Judicial Center Takes Shape in Carolina

WENTWORTH, N.C. — The new $39 million Rockingham County Judicial Center will include one of the first LEED-certified courthouses in the state.

Anchored by a 98,000-square-foot courthouse, the judicial complex will also incorporate a 52,500-square-foot jail. The main building will feature a 21,000-square-foot law enforcement center, while an adjacent 12,000-square-foot building will house the county’s emergency services.

The complex incorporates environmentally sustainable design, construction and operational elements.

“As far as I know, this will be the first LEED-certified court facility in the southeast,” says Mike Smith, Rockingham County facility projects manager. “It was a decision made by county commissioners to pursue LEED certification.”

The design will feature an Energy Star roof membrane, FSC-certified wood and recycled building materials. Electrical systems will utilize energy-efficient technologies and components that are expected to reduce energy use by up to 15 percent.

The design also incorporates individual lighting controls and outdoor air delivery monitoring systems. Low-flow plumbing fixtures will reduce water consumption and rainwater cisterns will provide landscape irrigation.

The facility design incorporates preferred parking for carpool and alternative-energy and fuel-efficient vehicles. An environmentally friendly housekeeping program will be implemented to eliminate the use of chemical insecticides and corrosive cleaning chemicals, Smith says.

The county made the decision to go green to be “good stewards of the environment and reduce life cycle costs of the structure,” Smith says.

Construction of the emergency services building, which will house a 911 communications center, an emergency operations center and administrative offices for the Emergency Services Department, is expected to be completed by July. The design also incorporates a 325-foot tall emergency communications tower, which the highway patrol will also use to monitor traffic.

Bidding for the courthouse, jail and law enforcement agency building is expected in the spring. The mixed-classification jail will eventually hold about 320 male and female inmates.

The project is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2010.

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