Kurt Eichenberger/architect AIA

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Wake County

Courthouse

Wake County's courthouses have stood in the same Fayetteville Street location since 1794, when a tract of land donated to the county earmarked the lot for this purpose. The current courthouse, constructed in 1970, is the fourth courthouse to occupy this land. In 2002, KEA created a ten-year master plan for the renovation and programming of the building. The master planning process began with a comprehensive study of the building's function, life/safety systems, accessibility, and mechanical systems. In conjunction with a thirty-year projection of Wake County's judicial system needs by Wake County and Carter Gobel Lee, the master planning process resulted in a plan to convert the existing courthouse into a civil courthouse, while relocating criminal justice functions to a new facility.

The master plan focused on accommodating the county's rapid growth, providing flexibility for changes in the judicial system, and extending the life of the building.

The current renovation, whose design has been the responsibility of KEA since 2003, is designed to allow the courthouse to remain occupied and functional each day of the ten-year construction process. In addition to the re-design of the Fayetteville Street plaza, which has enhanced the city's public space and better integrated the courthouse into its prominent, pedestrian-oriented site, the renovation has greatly improved the building's function by making it more accessible, more energy efficient, and safer for occupants.