The Delaware Family Court project began with a facilitated, interactive Visioning Session with key representatives from Kent and Sussex County. The Visioning Session brought together the Kent and Sussex County Family Courts stakeholders to establish consensus goals and objectives for the family court projects.
The CGL AOR Justice team (now NELSON Worldwide) identified important considerations related to courthouse operations based on current best practices for courthouse planning and design. These were used to represent goals and benchmarks to be addressed in the project.
The team provided comprehensive court design services in conjunction with a local architect for both Family Court buildings. Each was designed to enhance and fit into the historic districts in Dover and Georgetown through the use of a richly articulated brick and cast stone exteriors. A clock tower with an illuminated lantern serves as a symbol of the courts for the local community.
Each courthouse includes eight Family Court courtrooms, one Justice of the Peace courtroom, and chambers and support space for nine judges and Commissioners. Extensive program areas are provided for a multitude of support agencies, including Division of Child Support Services, Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families, Office of Defense Services, Department of Justice, Child Inc., and Office of the Child Advocate.
The design team focused on creating a welcoming and user friendly facility that emphasized intuitive wayfinding, extensive natural light and views, and unobtrusive but comprehensive security systems. A variety of differentiated waiting spaces was provided for the courtroom public areas. Remote testimony rooms for child and vulnerable witnesses are also provided.