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Waukesha County completes secure courtroom addition

BizCourts_klh The Waukesha County Courthouse will be one of the sites where the Wisconsin Supreme Court will be launching a business courts pilot program. The program, which would create dockets dedicated to business litigation will launch in July next year. The justices are seeking input from practitioners and other stakeholders and are expected to host a public hearing in February. (Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)

Waukesha County has completed a secure courtroom addition that adds 62,000 square feet of space, as well as technology and security enhancements. (File photo by Kevin Harnack)

Waukesha County on Tuesday completed a secure courtroom addition to the Waukesha County Courthouse. The milestone concludes Phase One of Waukesha County’s Courthouse Project, which will increase security, address aging infrastructure and enhance accessibility to Circuit Courts services, according to a new release from the county.

The next phase, to renovate the original 1959 courthouse, will begin in 2022.

“Today we have reached a significant landmark in improving justice and public safety for residents,” said Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow in a statement. “This new facility is designed to streamline access to courts services while enhancing safety. The County is investing in the best technology to serve residents while preserving taxpayer dollars, as this project will be completed more than $3 million under budget.”

The four-story secure courtroom adds 62,000 square feet to the courthouse. All Criminal and
Traffic Court officials will relocate to the new addition, which includes six standard courtrooms,
one large capacity courtroom, and one intake courtroom with an attached bond room. Standard
and large capacity courtrooms have their own victim/witness room, inmate holding cell and
conference room.

All aspects of the building have been designed with state-of-the-art technology to enhance public safety, streamline operations, and improve public access to Criminal and Traffic Court services.

Court officials will relocate to the new addition in phases, with full operations scheduled for
early 2022. Non-criminal Circuit Courts operations will continue in the existing 1959 Courthouse building.

Enhanced Security Features

Courtrooms in the secure facility are designed to maintain three-way separation among inmates, court staff and court visitors, a judicial standard that limits unnecessary interaction and prevents potential confrontations.

Other security enhancements include improved video surveillance; upgraded fire protection;
courtroom layout that provides clear line-of-sight for court officials and bailiffs; the ability of
court officials to automatically lock-down courtrooms in emergency situations; and installation
of staff and public announcement systems to provide notifications during emergencies.

Technological Features

Modern audio/visual equipment allows for clear communication within and between courtrooms, jury deliberation rooms, victim witness rooms, media rooms and judicial chambers. An acoustical analysis was conducted to select the proper materials to optimize audio clarity.

Digital displays are located at each attorney, judge, witness, clerk and jury area so that items can
instantly be requested and displayed electronically.

All courtrooms have video conference capabilities that allow participants to appear remotely.

Digital signage at the secure courtroom addition’s entrance and outside all courtrooms will help
the public navigate to their designated courtroom or conference room and provide the day’s
calendar information.

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