When Greenville County’s magistrate court system was in critical need of more space, they developed a plan to consolidate their six existing courts into four larger regional facilities. They chose McMillan Pazdan Smith to design a prototype court that would meet the security, accessibility and technological needs of a 21st century court but could be cost-effectively adapted to the unique environment of each community.
The County’s mandate was to create a building that both the County and the employees would be proud of while being fiscally responsible. The new facility also had to support the technology and security infrastructure necessary to conduct court business safely and efficiently. McMillan Pazdan Smith’s design for this modern, secure justice facility commands a strong civic presence that conveys the building’s importance in the community.
The prototype was conceived as a traditional Southern brick structure with the option for the local vernacular to dictate the specific material selection. The first iteration of the new Summary Court model was located in Traveler’s Rest, a mountainous northern region of the county. Sited within a growing nucleus of civic facilities, including a new fire station and a new farmer’s market, this facility features a stone exterior to complement the existing campus architecture. Deliberate landscaping also ensures clear sightlines to entrances and exits, enhancing the facility’s security.
The greatest design challenge was to separate the circulation paths of judges, detainees, and the public within limited square footage. By reducing circulation crossing to a single controlled intersection, the floor plan maintains the level of security and efficiency needed while adapting to the budget in a responsible manner. Additional support spaces include areas for law enforcement, payment processing, county offices, and public waiting areas.
The new 11,500 square foot facility cost $2 million and was completed in 2016.