New Carroll courthouse mixes history, high-tech

September 16, 2002|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

On the outside, the brick is a match for the exterior of the old courthouse next door.

Inside, the most striking old-style touch is the richness of the red-brown cherry wood that makes up the judge's benches and courtroom doors.

But while its wood and brick whisper Westminster's history, the new District Court building - the first public building to be constructed in the historic part of Westminster in years - shouts high-tech.

The $7 million building, scheduled to open today, features an X-ray machine and metal detector at its entrance and an audio system and television screens for video bail-review hearings in its two courtrooms.

"The whole room is wired," said Yvonne Davis, criminal-traffic supervisor for the Carroll District Court's clerk's office, while touring a courtroom last week.

The new building on North Court Street is across Greenwood Avenue from the court's long-leased space in the county's Courthouse Annex.

Friday was moving day for the court, which handles matters small and large, from traffic tickets and neighborhood spats, to domestic violence and bail hearings in murder cases.

For a walk-through of the building last week, Administrative Judge JoAnn M. Ellinghaus-Jones gathered with Davis and administrative clerk Nancy E. Mueller. Sunlight streamed into the entranceway from tall cupola windows above.

In Courtroom Two, Ellinghaus-Jones "test drove" her new chair, practicing a boarding-house reach along the expanse of the bench where she will preside.

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