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Supervisors briefed on courts expansion; public information meeting April 23

Ahead of an April 23 informational meeting on the third phase of the county courts expansion, the Board of Supervisors were presented April 16 with four design options for the substantial renovation project in historic downtown Leesburg.

Currently in the concept-design phase, the expansion, needed to accommodate increasing caseloads in one of the nation's fastest-growing counties, won't be completed for several more years.

Last October the Board of Supervisors authorized the county’s purchasing agent to award a contract for architectural and engineering services for the expansion to Dewberry Architects for more than $5.5 million.

A Dewberry representative was on hand for April's second business meeting to brief the Board of Supervisors.

“These concepts reflect two basic principles – that we meet the [85,000] square-footage requirement … [and] the other objective of the project is to create a unified courts complex,” said Marlene Shade, Dewberry's project manager for the Loudoun courts complex.

The county's Circuit Court functions and Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court will remain in existing the courthouse with upgrades, according to Shade, while District Court – the courtrooms, judges' chambers and District Court clerk – the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office, Adult Probation and Parole, Civil Process and Community Corrections will move across the street to the forthcoming building in design.

Each of the four design concepts address the project’s primary objectives, according to a county staff report. Those objectives include providing functional courtroom and court-related operations space to support the system's growth; new construction to house the General District Court and the other court support agencies; co-locating on-site all court support agencies; planning for continued growth through 2015; and ensuring adequate parking and functionality within the context of downtown Leesburg.

The design phase of the project is estimated to take 18 to 24 months to complete due to the nature of the land use approval processes within the Town of Leesburg and a phased construction document process, the county report states.

The town's processes include a rezoning, a concept development plan and proffer amendment, Board of Architectural Review approval and site plan approval, county staff states.

Interested members of the public can get a first glimpse of the plans and ask county staff questions about the project at the April 23 public information meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m. at the county government center.

More information about the expansion can be found at http://www.loudoun.gov/courts-expansion.

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