The Georgetown County Judicial Center in South Carolina is a brand new, 79,300 square foot, $19.5 million facility, designed by Michael Walker of Tych & Walker Architects. Thorburn Associates was brought onto the design team by Tych & Walker in August 2006 and construction began in July 2007.
Thorburn Associates designed AV systems for three general-use courtrooms, one master in equity/probate courtroom, two family courtrooms and one jury assembly/meeting room. Usually, we ask questions of the facility managers and end users, then develop and present a system description narrative and AV budget projection for approval. This project was different: Georgetown County informed us of their maximum AV allowance and asked us to design to that budget, which we did.
Next, we provided drawings to the architect delineating power, conduit and data requirements for the AV systems. Along with all the “day one” requirements, we made sure to include infrastructure for future expansion.
Every courtroom features full audio recording capability. Microphones are strategically located near the judge, witness, attorneys and court clerk. Additional microphones are provided around the room to capture the voices of attorneys as they address the witness or jury directly. Audio output connectors are provided for use by court reporters who use portable electronic recording devices. Each system also has provisions for connection to the latest computer based recording software.
Two of the larger courtrooms are equipped with full video evidence display capability. Individual 17-inch and 19-inch high-resolution monitors are installed at the jury box, attorney tables, judge’s bench, clerk’s desk and witness stand. Connectors for portable video devices such as laptops or portable video decks allow video evidence to be displayed on all the courtroom monitors. A DVD/VHS combination player is also provided at the clerk’s desk.
We conducted final system testing to verify that the system functions as designed, in compliance with our specification. Soon after the first gavel fell, and the bailiff proclaimed, “Court is now in session!”