I. What are the reasons Medina County needs a new courthouse?
- Since the 1969 portion of the courthouse was built, the county’s population has more than doubled going from nearly 83,000 residents to more than 172,000 as of the last census. Nearly 50 years’ worth of public use of that specific portion of the courthouse combined with increased demands from today’s much larger population has created both serious safety concerns and major difficulties that must be resolved. Some of these issues include failing systems, ADA compliance issues, space limitations for judges and staff, and the need for future growth. It is important to note that limitations of space and outdated design create security concerns for court personnel, victims of crime, witnesses and the general public because criminal defendants can’t always be kept separate in public pathways.
- The County received a report from the Ohio Supreme Court pertaining to security and homeland security at the courthouse. This report reinforces the need for a new courthouse. The County cannot release this report to the public because in doing so it would place our employees at risk.
II. What are the reasons we partnered with Medina City for a new joint
- The County and City agree that a joint courthouse is the most efficient and effective use of tax dollars which would allow the two courts to share one security entrance and personnel, parking, halls, meeting rooms, restroom facilities and utility costs while offering one convenient location to the public.
- Brandstetter Carroll has been asked to design a courthouse that will have sufficient space to accommodate the County’s and City’s growth over the next 50 years.
III. When/why was the feasibility study completed and what were the results?
- The Medina County Commissioners contracted with Brandstetter Carroll in 2018 to complete a feasibility study for the Medina County and Medina Municipal Courts and related departments and were asked to answer the following questions on an order of magnitude basis:
- Is the the current courthouse location large enough to accommodate both the county and municipal courts and related departments?
- How many square feet is needed by the combined courts?
- What is the estimated cost of construction of such a facility?
The 153,000 square foot building projected by Brandstetter Carroll demonstrates that the parcels on which the County Courthouse is built will accommodate both the county and municipal courts and related departments. The projected 153,000 square feet and $45 million cost does not take into account shared space and other efficiencies gained by value engineering which should significantly reduce the foot print of the actual building.
*At no time did the architects, county, or city officials consider this to be a proposed courthouse design.
IV. Has the design of the new courthouse been determined?
Preservation of 1841 & 1873 Editions
- The Commissioners strongly agree that the 1841 & 1873 editions including the Victorian façade and clock tower of the courthouse will not be torn down and will remain intact. The editions are the iconic depiction represented in the Medina County seal.
- In addition, the building located at 72 Public Square, formerly known as Gessemer Funeral Home, will also remain untouched.
Renovation vs. Demolition of Newer Sections of Courthouse
- The 1969 Courthouse was constructed using building codes and security measures in place for that time period. Since 1969 new building regulations, including ADA and security requirements have been implemented and the cost to bring this building into compliance through renovations would be very expensive. In addition, the 1969 building is extremely inefficient in the use of space and energy, and does not meet the current needs of the courts.
Timeline for Design
- As of August 20, 2019, a design for the courthouse has not been created. We are in the very early stages of the design process which will take months to complete. We will update this information as it becomes available.
- Because we are currently in the design phase of this project, the size of the proposed courthouse has not yet been determined. Once the county has a more accurate projection of the size of a proposed courthouse we will release that information to the public.
- Internal Input
- County and City Judges, Clerk of Courts, and Probation Departments had the opportunity to meet with Brandstetter Carroll during the feasibility study. All courts and their departments will have the opportunity to provide input and continue to be involved in the design of the combined courthouse.
- Public Input
- On August 8, 2019, Brandstetter Carroll met with the Archive Commission, Community Design Committee, Main Street Medina and Medina County Historical Society to receive input into the design of the external appearance of the combined courthouse during the beginning stage of the design process.
- Public meetings were held on July 22nd and August 8th during the period of the space study and will continue through the design phase which began May of 2019. Public engagement is encouraged and will continue throughout this project. Additional public meetings will be scheduled both with stakeholders and the public.
- Public meetings scheduled by the commissioners’ office are advertised on the commissioners’ website (www.medinaco.org), the Medina Gazette and in the commissioners’ agendas. If you wish to be added to the commissioners’ agenda email distribution list, please notify Rhonda Beck, Clerk of the Board at email@example.com or (330) 722-9208.
- Internal Input
V. How much will the new courthouse cost and how will it be financed?
- The architects have been asked to design a courthouse at no more than $38 million due to budgetary reasons.
- Because we are currently in the design phase of this project, the cost of the proposed courthouse has not yet been determined.
- City – The City has agreed to pay 25 percent of the schematic design and should the project move forward, the cost will be allocated based on square footage.
- County – The County will issue bonds to cover the cost of the courthouse project. The bonds will be retired using the increased revenues generated from the triennial property value update, increased indigent defense reimbursements received from the State of Ohio, and increased revenues from county growth.
- The timeline for the courthouse project is continually changing and will be updated as the project moves forward. According to the most recent timeline from June 6, 2019, we are currently in the schematic design phase and CMAR selection. Once those steps in the process are complete, the project moves to owner review and design development in September to December 2019. Owner review will once again be done on the design and construction documents will be created early 2020 with bidding and procurement occurring in fall 2020. Once all bidding and procurement are complete, the courthouse construction will most likely not take place until late fall of 2020.
Construction Manager at Risk
- The County will be using a construction manager at risk model which establishes a commitment by the Construction Manager to deliver a project within a guaranteed maximum price. A construction manager at risk is hired early during the design phase to assist the County during the design of the facility and will act as an advocate on behalf of the county. Once the facility is designed, the Construction Manager is retained and takes the role of a general contractor through the construction phase of the project.
- The County has decided to utilize a Construction Manager at Risk in order to have them participate during the design process to identify constructibility problems, budgetary concerns, schedule concerns, etc. These pre-construction services can
reduce and/or eliminate problems during construction. They will act as a consultant to the County during the design development and construction phases. The Construction Manager at Risk advocates and manages the project with the County’s best interest in mind.
We are currently seeking a location in which to facilitate the courts on a temporary basis. We recognize that any temporary location will require renovations to meet the needs of the courts and until a decision has been made, renovation costs are unknown as each facility has its own unique renovation requirements.
- Between the parking garage and surface spaces, there are 424 parking spaces at the courthouse, with 56 of these spaces located directly behind the courthouse. Until the courthouse is designed, the final number of parking spaces is unknown. We reasonably expect a loss of some spaces, but will ensure that there are adequate spaces for parking at the courthouse.
- The question has been asked why underground parking has been suggested. Best practices include secure parking for judges, magistrates and others who could be targeted by individuals seeking revenge for decisions made on the bench.
Brandstetter Carroll has been asked to design a courthouse that will have sufficient space to accommodate the County’s growth over the next 50 years.
No recreation/fitness room is planned, nor has it ever been planned, for the new courthouse.