Justice Center Gets Much-Needed Expansion

BRIGHTON, Colo. — The Adams County Justice Center in Brighton is growing.
Last October, the center finished adding 12 courtrooms, 10 conference rooms, additional offices and state-of-the-art technology as part of its 103,000-square-foot expansion. This is the second phase of a $28 million expansion project that broke ground in 2008.
The first phase, which broke ground in 2008 and was completed in late 2009, entailed renovations and additions to the courthouse and lobby. Colorado Springs-based GE Johnson Construction Company (GEJCC) served as the general contractor.
Architects in Heery International’s Denver office designed the new space, making views, daylighting, efficient energy use and matching aesthetics their top design priorities.
Heery expanded the lobby and screening areas to accommodate long visitor lines and added a new 500-seat jury room with landscaped outdoor garden area, additional clerks’ offices and public walk-up counters to make court operations more efficient. It also designed each position in the courtroom to be wheelchair accessible.
“When designing the courthouse expansion, we incorporated lessons learned from courts and county staff that operated the Justice Center over the past decade,” said Ted Halsey, Heery executive associate and design principal for the project.
Adams County’s population has quadrupled since the original, six-story justice center opened in 1998. By 2007, the 17th Judicial District’s caseload exceeded the capacity of the center, which had 21 courtrooms at the time.
Adams County is projected to grow faster than any other county in the Denver metro area over the next 20 years. The County’s voters approved continuing a one-half cent sales tax over that timeframe to finance the project
“Growth issues extend to every aspect of Adams County life now and Adams County deserves this courthouse to keep public safety at the forefront,” said District Attorney Don Quick. “We have a wonderful building, not just because of the structure, but because of the quality people in the structure. I’m as proud of what goes on inside this facility as I am of the facility itself.”
To achieve Heery’s design goals, Wausau Window and Wall Systems engineered and manufactured 21,265 square feet of its HP-Wall Series’ high-performance curtainwall system and structural consultant Martin/Martin, Inc. complemented the system with a three-dimensional building information model (BIM).
“The model illustrated and clarified the curtainwall’s anchorage requirements at the existing building interface, which was too complex for 2-D details,” said Tom Mifflin, Wausau’s government market manager. “Using BIM tools, along with a collaborative design process, contributed to a very successful project. This avoided potential scheduling delays and costly rework during installation,” he said.
Harmon, the low bidder on the project, helped the design team with the exterior envelope final detailing.
GEJCC also utilized a glazing team early in the project’s development “to review and assist the design team with the exterior envelope of the building,” said Harmon’s senior sales representative Joel Watson.
Adhesives manufacturer Linetec provided the thermal barrier system and the Sea Foam Green painted finish on Wausau’s curtainwall and window systems.
“The multi-level thermal barrier contributes to our HP-Wall’s best-in-class thermal performance,” said Kevin Robbins, Wausau’s regional sales manager. “In addition to helping keep occupants comfortable, this works in conjunction with the building’s exterior solar fins to reduce the demands placed on the building’s HVAC capacity and lower operating costs.”
On the curtainwall’s interior, a baked enamel finish was used to withstand the daily use of a public facility. The curtainwall’s exterior was painted with weather-resistant 70 percent Kynar coating to protect it against Colorado’s variable weather.
The coating and color was also applied to the Justice Center’s storefront and entrances. “They can take the punishment of constant use demanded by a growing community,” said Tubelite sales representative Rick Middleton.
The system’s durable finishes are designed to lower maintenance costs.
When all is said and done, the expansion will serve allow the county to better serve the public. “This isn’t just any old building,” said Sheriff Doug Darr. “It is a place where victims and those accused seek justice, where people get the opportunity to tell their story and be heard. This expansion provides us the opportunity to handle more load and volume for a safer and more efficient community.”