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Prince William County’s judicial center needs a $488 million expansion to more than double its size to meet ongoing and future needs, according to a consultant.
Tony Bell of Moseley Architects presented a master plan for the complex in Manassas to the Board of County Supervisors on Tuesday. The judicial center is home to the shared court system of the county, Manassas and Manassas Park and offices of the commonwealth’s attorney and sheriff. It’s also attached to the county jail.
The system has been deluged in recent years with a compounding problem of increasing caseloads coupled with rising population.
“The space at the courthouse has been an issue for 10 years,” said Matt Villareale, the county’s director of facilities and fleet management. “We’ve shoehorned staff into every corner we could.”
Last year, the board allocated $5 million toward design for an expansion.
The plan presented Tuesday would increase the size of the facility from 167,680 square feet to 439,017 square feet and increase the number of courtrooms from 18 to 30.
The proposal includes a 950-space parking garage on an existing lot, taking the number of parking spots from 1,191 to 1,933.
Chief Circuit Court Judge Kimberly Irving said although the judicial center added a seventh judge last year, it already needs another. She said space is running out and causing problems for jurors who can’t find parking.
“The existing building is not functioning in the way we need it to function. … We are absolutely in dire need around the courthouse,” she said. “To hold this back until we have $300 million is to do the citizens of the county a disservice … We’re out of space.”
The master plan proposes work in phases, but would in total cost more than $488 million.
The board did not allocate any funding during Tuesday’s work session.
“We know we need a new courthouse system,” said Board Chair Ann Wheeler. “I’m just a little concerned it’s a little over $400 million and we don’t have that in our [Capital Improvement Program].”