Judges, attorneys and other court personnel are the ones who will benefit daily from the convenience and safety of the new 4th District Judicial Center.
But court officials say it's the public who will best be served by the new building."This is your building. It should not only be known as the new court building, but a building for true justice for all," said Presiding 4th District Judge Cullen Y. Christensen during dedication ceremonies Tuesday.
Located at 100 W. 100 North, the building will not be opened officially until Nov. 13. It is closed this week while court personnel move from old facilities. Built at a cost of $6 million and owned by Provo City, the center will house the Provo 4th Circuit Court and 4th District Court.
Michael Havemann, court executive, said the center is the first to follow the new state master plan for court facilities. He said its design and flexibility will meet Utah County needs for many years.
Other court executives from throughout the state are looking at the building as a design model for future state courts.
"Utah County now has the nicest trial facility in the state," Havemann said.
He said the real benefit of the new building is its security. Judges, lawyers, jury members and other court personnel will have security never before experienced. In the past court personnel have shared the same hallways, entrances and space as the public and defendants.
"In this building the public no longer has to worry about sharing the same space (with) people who have committed rape, child abuse and all kinds of other heinous crimes," Havemann said.
The first contact judges and prisoners will have with the public is when they enter the courtroom. Judges and prisoners will enter the building through security gates on the west side. Prisoners will be held in two holding cells until they are transferred to the courtroom on an elevator accessible only to security personnel.
The public enters the building on the east side and is confined to areas on that side of the structure. Judges' chambers and rooms of other court personnel are on the building's west side and are secure from public areas.
Three security guards will be on duty during all business hours. One guard will be stationed at the metal detector at the east entrance, one at a television monitoring station near the prisoner entrance and one will roam the building.
Combined offices for the circuit and district courts are located on the first floor. The second floor has three circuit courtrooms and the chambers of 4th Circuit Judges Lynn W. Davis and E. Patrick McGuire. The courtroom on the north side is the building's largest and holds more than 150 people.
The courtrooms and chambers of 4th District Judges Christensen and George E. Ballif are on the third floor. The courtrooms and chambers of 4th District Judges Ray M. Harding and Boyd L. Park are on the fourth floor. The domestic court, located on the third floor, features a sound-proof cry room, something seen in few courts in the country. The building has 24 conference rooms, a law library, five jury rooms and two jury lounges.
The building was constructed during a time when the construction market was soft. The structure was built for about 10 percent less than comparable buildings. The building came in under estimated construction costs and was finished one month earlier than expected, Havemann said.