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Virtual Courthouse Planning Guide

A new addition to the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) website includes the compilation of a near exhaustive list of resources for state courts and their stakeholders when designing new, renovating existing, or significantly updating facilities.

With grant support from SJI, the NCSC was able to create an online portal, titled The Virtual Courthouse: A Guide to Planning and Design.  The NCSC still maintains experts in the field, who assist with these projects; however this site provides the early planning efforts that should be considered regardless of whether the court has engaged outside resources.

Among the processes emphasized as essential to launching the first-stage of courthouse planning efforts are:

  • Needs Assessment – Evaluation of the deficiencies of current facility and quantifying existing conditions.
  • Master Planning – Engage architectural and site selection teams, inclusive of building occupants.
  • Project Budgeting – List and evaluate funding options; obtain realistic expectations for total costs.
  • Facility Planning – Ensure that planning and design standards are set.

Each process is linked to resources that further define the core components required of successful new, or redesigned, court facilities.  Also included is special attention to the uniqueness of the courthouse structure, and its particular needs, including, security, accessibility, compliance, and technology.