Posted Thursday, January 10th, 2019

COURT, LAW ENFORCEMENT, PUBLIC SAFETY AND ENGINEERING OFFICIALS DETAIL NEED AND REASONS FOR POTENTIAL ACTION 

The Morris County Board of Freeholders received a detailed briefing last night (Jan. 9) on the need and specific reasons for consideration of a potential expansion and renovations to the Morris County Courthouse in Morristown.

Assignment Judge Stuart A. Minkowitz briefs the Freeholder Board

Assignment Judge Stuart A. Minkowitz briefs the Freeholder Board

Morris County Superior Court Assignment Judge Stuart A. Minkowitz, Sheriff James M. Gannon, County Law and Public Safety Director Scott DiGiralomo, and County Engineer Christopher Vitz each made presentations that detailed specific issues related to legal, public safety, and security shortcomings of the current courthouse.

View the video at https://morriscountynj.gov/courthouse2019/#presentation.

Also, Access the PowerPoint of the presentation and the county’s Space Needs Assessment Full Report and Executive Summary (Redactions of the report and summary have been for safety and security reasons), and find a public comment form at this link.

Public comment may be offered to the Freeholder Board at its Jan. 23, 7 p.m., meeting in Morristown and submitted electronically for the next month.

Freeholder Director Doug Cabana and County Counsel John Napolitano watch the presentation on the courthouse needs

Freeholder Director Doug Cabana and County Counsel John Napolitano watch the presentation on the courthouse needs

Providing adequate court facilities and securing those facilities are the sole responsibility of each respective county in New Jersey. Previously, the Morris County Freeholder Board commissioned a Space Needs and Facilities Assessment pertaining to the judiciary and county government. That Space Needs Assessment identified a significant shortfall in criminal, family and civil court facilities.

At a Dec. 12 meeting, the Freeholder Board, by a unanimous vote following a public hearing process, adopted two capital ordinances totaling $5 million that could finance a design of the proposed new and expanded court facilities.

Updates on the project, including information of future meetings or actions, will be posted at https://morriscountynj.gov/

Sheriff James A. Gannon briefs the Freeholder Board on security and safety issues regarding the existing courthouse

Sheriff James A. Gannon briefs the Freeholder Board on security and safety issues regarding the existing courthouse

Some Background:

In Morris County, the county government, the state courts, and related nonprofit organizations currently operate from the Morris County Courthouse, the Morris County Administration and Records Building, and the Schuyler Annex Building in downtown Morristown, with additional state‐level court services housed in leased space.

Over time, as the needs of the county and the state have grown, so has the need for more secure and accessible facilities from which to operate. Morris County has attempted to meet these needs on a project-by-project basis, utilizing available facilities and space in the most efficient manner possible.

In late 2016, it became apparent that an analysis of existing available space was needed, coupled with a comprehensive and long‐term examination and evaluation of current and future space needs. In early 2017, Morris County retained a team of consultants led by consulting firm Dewberry to undertake this needs assessment and master planning effort.

The study was scoped with addressing the capital facility needs of Morris County for both county government and state court functions, looking at least 20 years into the future, and developing a capital facility master plan level strategy to meet those needs.

Following months of data gathering, interviews with key officials and stakeholders, in‐depth analyses, and development and evaluation of optional solutions, several key findings emerged that defined the recommended solution.