• LaBella Associates

Restoring Order: Madison County's Courthouse Restoration and Additions are Complete!

The Madison County Courthouse was originally constructed in 1909. The original three story masonry structure was never designed to accommodate persons with physical disabilities and was inefficient for modern court operations. The project included a renovation of approximately 20,000 SF of existing courthouse and the design and construction of two additions in order to provide an accessible, secure, and efficient work environment that meets the program needs of the NYS Office of Court Administration (OCA) and Madison County. The new facility also conformed to the mandates of the New York Commission of Correction.

The single story 2,600 SF addition was built to create a secure, single point of entry into the complex. It serves as the new, ADA accessible main entrance for the County Office Building and the Courthouse. Design components complement the existing Courthouse, while creating contrast through the use of storefront systems, a canopy, angled roof system, and modern vernacular. Clerestory windows provide an abundance of natural light, creating a welcoming environment for visitors, while maintaining security required by OCA officers. The interior design included exposed structure, custom security millwork, salvaged existing marble, terrazzo flooring, and County branding.

The interior of the existing Courthouse was reconfigured for efficiency of court operations. LaBella’s approach was to preserve the original architecture and finishes of the main building as much as possible, especially at the main courtrooms and rotunda atrium. A major portion of the work included expanding existing courtrooms on the first and second floors through the demolition of a four story stair and creating a level floor system framed over the existing sloped and stepped floor systems, extending into this demolished area. The courtrooms have custom ADA accessible millwork and are provided with state of the art technology and access control. The original stained glass skylight was restored and original decorative trim was maintained. A sprinkler system was added throughout the building in inconspicuous areas as to preserve the historic aesthetic. Other unique elements of the existing courthouse renovation included restoring original paint colors found through analysis of existing walls, salvaging existing wood door trim, creating custom light fixtures to match existing sconces, and installing ADA compliant custom hardware to mimic the original door hardware detailing.

Read more about our work to uncover original paint colors here, and for additional information on the preservation of historic details, click here.

The two-story 8,000 SF addition to the existing Courthouse provides access to the Veteran’s Building and a secondary entrance for staff and the incarcerated to the Courthouse. It provides additional space for court operations, including a grand jury room, hearing room, judge chambers, jury deliberation rooms, evidence storage, a secure sally port, holding cells, and additional circulation space with a stair tower and elevator. The exterior design complements the existing courthouse through the use of similar color brick veneer, a cast stone watertable aligning with existing limestone, similar style windows, and ornate cornice detailing. Modern elements, such as the butterfly style storefront entrance and sloped curtain wall systems distinguish the structure as an addition.

Exterior work involved replacing single pane glass windows with energy efficient window systems that replicated the aesthetic of the original Courthouse. The limestone and brick façades were cleaned, repointed, and repaired to bring the exterior back to life. The existing dome roof was replaced with a copper roof system and a new cast bronze statue to match the original. An eagle statue to match the original pose was commissioned. Utility work included providing a new water service, replacing a storm and sanitary lateral, and rerouting fiber lines. The site was regraded and new sidewalks provided to create accessible routes to the facility.

The Oneida Dispatch covered the courthouse opening. Here's a link to their coverage.

LaBella is proud to have led the design and engineering of restoring this important piece of history, and providing safe, accessible justice facilities for all residents.

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