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Adair PDB meeting July 18, 2006: A design bombshell

Administrative Office of the Courts, DLZ surprise local Adair Justice Development Board with radically different design concept dictated by concerns for security, rapidly growing Drug Court

By Ed Waggener

The July 18, 2006 meeting of the Adair County Justice Center Project Development Board (PDB) was almost cancelled. Two members, Judge Jimmy Weddle and AoC representative Douglas Teague were unable to attend. Even the typing of the agenda was put off until a few hours before the meeting because the uncertainty about whether the meeting would be held.

It was to have been a routine meeting, but when meeting came to architect's report, and the DLZ architectural firm opened its presentation, a design bombshell fell, along with a few cherry bombs and firecrackers. It was, by PDB standards, an explosive meeting.

A new Project Manager has been named by DLZ. Bing Ewen will replace Paul Knowles in that position. Both were present at the meeting. Mr. Knowles will leave the position July 28th. He has accepted a position with the University of Kentucky.

Bing Ewen is a resident of LaGrange, KY, who has long experience as an architecture, including a long tenure with Long John Silver's, the Kentucky-based seafood restaurant chain.

Mr. Ewen told the panel that the project is now about six months behind because of delays in the site acquisition.

New design bears little resemblance to earlier one

The new design exterior of the building, except for still being catercorner across the lot, bears little resemblance to the tentative design worked out by the PDB, Renaissance Columbia, the Administrative Office of the Courts, and DLZ.

The design changes were presented by Meagan Campbell-Smith of DLZ.

Manner of change presentation does not sit well with local members

The always calm PDB member Marshall Loy displayed irritation with the manner in which the AoC, which has the final say in the process, had handled the design change. Members of the local PDB were handed a penciled sketch of the new design only hours before the meeting. None appeared happy with the new design or with the surprise edict from Frankfort dictating the design change. It appeared that sensibilities were hurt when the local members were made to feel marginalized.

"The design has totally changed after getting the public involved," Mr. Loy said. He said that a great deal of time had been put into the design concept, and now, it would need to be done again. Mr. Loy and other local members of the PDB have been adamant that the design have consensus approval of local leaders, particularly Renaissance Columbia.

New concept will be refined with local imput, DLZ says

What is changed is major, though not final, Bing Ewen stressed, urging patience as the new concept is refined. The design firm and the AoC Project Manager, Jeff Lilly, both urged that the preliminary drawing not be publicized because they represent only a concept, and are not yet ready for public viewing.

The changes were made primarily for court security, with Homeland Security considerations highly evident.

The changes include the following:
  • The dominant motif of the entrance would not be columns and arches, but a dramatic rotunda. The rotunda was part of the earlier design, but played a more interior role. The design places the greatest emphasis on the rotunda.

  • The exterior of the building, as initially drawn, gives the impression of three discrete structures tied together, with the rotunda dominating, and a very long Merchant ST wing, and a shorter Campbellsville ST one.

  • A raised entrance which would place a barrier against vehicular attacks, whether by terrorists or the type of structure-assault carried out by Ronald G. Webb on the old courthouse just 11 months ago.

  • Courtrooms and the Circuit Court Clerk's offices would be moved to the interior, surrounded by buffers of offices, supply rooms, and, on the Merchant Street side, Drug Court.

  • A separate parking lot for Judges, the prosecution, and other Commonwealth representatives would be on the Campbellsville ST side, with the entrance at what was the north side of the First Realty lot. Mr. Ewen said, after the meeting, that traffic problems created by the entrance on Campbellsville Street might be resolved by having the entrance on Merchant or on the lane beside the fire station.
Security, increased Drug Court activity, made changes necessary

The architectural earthquake was necessitated by the need for security, Jeff Lilly, the AoC's Project Manager and Advisor to the PDB, said.

Both Lilly and the representatives of DLZ agreed to go back through meetings with Renaissance Columbia and the local public as the exterior of the building is redefined in light of the security needs.

Additionally, an explanation for moving Drug Court to the Merchant ST side was given. Drug Court is becoming a bigger element in the justice process, and often sessions go into the evening. With the new design, there will be no after-regular-hours entry into the main complex by drug court participants.

Two of three of lots for the project have been transferred

Judge Jerry Vaughan, the chairman of the PDB, reported that two of the three lots needed for the project have been transferred to county, and that the third awaits only a manner-of-payment agreement from the property owners. The owners are discussing whether to take the payment in a lump sum or in payments, depending on their accountant's advice.

Next meeting set

A meeting of the PDB, previously scheduled meeting for July 25, 2006, was cancelled. The next meeting of the Project Development Board was set for Tuesday, August 8, 2006, at 5:00pm CT, before the regular meeting of Adair Fiscal Court, which meets in the same Adair Annex basement at 7:00pm CT, the same evening.

About your Adair County Justice Center Project Development Board (PDB)
The Adair County Justice Center Project Development Board includes the chairman, Adair County Judge Executive Jerry Vaughan, and Adair County District 1 Magistrate Roger Stephens, the PDB includes Attorney Marshall Loy, Circuit Court Judge Jim Weddle, Adair County Court Clerk Dennis Loy. Douglas Teague, Administrative Office of the Courts representative.

Jeff Lilly is the AOC Project Manager and advisor to the PDB.

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This story was posted on 2006-07-20 06:41:35
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