The four-story, concrete-framed Judicial Center, located in the southern fringe of downtown Augusta, includes eight courtrooms, nine hearing rooms, a grand jury room, judge’s chambers, and offices for the DA, Solicitor General, and Clerks of the Courts. The facility serves the Superior, State, Magistrate and Probate Courts.
Heery’s involvement in Augusta-Richmond County’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) began in January 2004. In March 2005, when Heery was assigning budgets to a number of projects, Heery’s cost estimators believed that the programmed size for the judicial building needed to be revisited. Heery was asked to review the Project Definition Report which was prepared by the architect and included a 15-year projection of staff and caseloads. The projections showed growth in the levels of staff from 296 in 2003 to 561 in 2018 (almost double), which would require the design of a 300,000 SF facility to accommodate the projected needs.
Heery compared these figures to the historic population studies provided by the U.S. Census Bureau and determined that the architect showed exponential growth in staff while the U.S. Census Bureau showed a flat line growth in population. Heery saw other anomalies in the report as well and decided to utilize our in-house resources to perform a review of the space program produced by the architects. The information contained within the Project Definition document, represented the basis from which the proposed Judicial Center size and budget had been established. Empirical evidence suggested that the facility may be as much as 20% oversized based on the County’s projected 15-year growth needs. If this was correct, it would imply that the facility program was projecting more space than was actually needed resulting in a facility that would cost as much as $10 to $15 million more than is required. Based on Heery’s reviews, the architect revisited the space program and the size of the project was reduced by nearly 40%.
Components of the Judicial Center include: