Greenfield Trial Court Undergoes Sustainable Upgrade

GREENFIELD, Mass. — When the $60 million renovation and expansion project at the Franklin County courthouse in Greenfield is completed, a green roof will be just one of the many sustainable features in the updated facility. Upon completion, the courthouse will be named the Greenfield Trial Court, and it will host the district, superior, juvenile, probate and family and housing courts, and feature six courtrooms.

The Massachusetts agency that constructs public buildings tries to incorporate sustainability in all its projects, Josiah Stevenson, an architect for the Boston-based firm Leers Weinzapfel Associates, the architect on the project, told The Recorder. “A green roof covered with plants will eliminate the heat-island effect on the building, plants will absorb carbon dioxide, helping reduce our carbon footprint, and there will be a more aesthetic view for visitors,” Stevenson added.

The green roof will be visible from the lobby on the fourth floor, the same level that the trial court is located. This placement will be ideal for people in search of a calming effect before or after trial. While no one will be allowed in the garden, building occupants will be able to see it through large glass windows that will be installed in the lobby.

The green roof will also help break the massiveness of the building as well as protect the membrane roof beneath it from ultraviolet rays, so it will last longer and degrade slower, reported The Recorder. The roof will be filled with hearty drought- and winter-tolerant plants.

Framingham, Mass.-based Whiting-Turner Construction Co. is serving as the general contractor on the 104,000-square-foot courthouse renovation project. The general contractor will subcontract the rooftop garden project, but a company has yet to be chosen, reported The Recorder.

Construction on the courthouse project began in early 2014 and is scheduled for completion in fall 2016. During construction, court business is being conducted at the Greenfield Corporate Center about two miles away. The state is renting the temporary location for $183,869 a month, according to Mass Live. The temporary building features 57,000 square feet of space with four courtrooms, two jury deliberation rooms and seven holding cells.

The main goal of the project is to upgrade the facility so that it offers more space and is no longer outdated, reported Mass Live. Lawmakers first approved the bond for this and other courthouse projects in 1995, and it has been a long process since to get the project in motion.