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County Board to consider renovation contract for ‘courtroom of the future’

The exterior of the Arlington County Justice Center, where the General District Court is located (via Google Maps)

A contract that’s part of a $1.9 million project to renovate “the courtroom of the future” is set to go before the Arlington County Board.

The Board plans to vote on Saturday (July 16) on an $890,000 construction contract to upgrade Arlington General District Court Courtroom 10B with technology updates and layout improvements. If approved, the contract will go to Michigan-based construction company Sorensen Gross.

Arlington courtrooms haven’t had a major renovation since 1994, according to a report to the County Board.

“Significant technology development has introduced new forms of evidence, including recordings from police body-worn cameras and smartphone cameras,” the report says. “Additional courtroom technology is needed to show this evidence to only the required participants. This technology prototype will address these issues and provide a more flexible setting for future expansion/modification to the system.”

The construction project is set to include renovations such as raising the floor to make routing cables easier, new video monitors and sound systems that coordinate microphones and integrate translation capabilities. By adding a new “technology backbone,” the county aims to give “more direct control of multimedia presentations,” according to the report.

The spectator area, jury box and witness stand are also set for changes, according to a Q&A document with prospective vendors. The changes will comply with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and improve the layout for judges, witnesses and clerks, according to the report.

The total budget for the project is around $1.9 million, which was included in the county’s adopted fiscal year 2022-2024 Capital Improvement Plan. In addition to the construction contract, the total cost reflects around $370,000 in design and administrative costs and $250,000 in contingency costs.

Construction is currently expected to start in early August and should be mostly complete by July of next year, according to the Q&A document.

Photo via Google Maps

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