Case Studies

Courthouse Planning & Design, Operational Analysis, and Activation

Metro Nashville / Davidson County, Tennessee

Nashville Historic Courthouse Justice Planning Associates developed a long-term relationship with Metro Nashville as its Consultant from 2001 to 2007. Originally hired by the Metro Government as a Judicial Consultant to help plan and design a 100,000-square foot Court addition to an existing parking garage, JPA convinced the County to develop a better long-term solution. At the inception of the project, the main components of the Court System operated out of four different buildings, including an office building and within the County Jail. JPA developed consensus for a plan to consolidate the Criminal Court and General Sessions Court into a new facility, and to renovate the historic 1937 Public Building and Courthouse for use by the Chancery Court, Circuit Court, and Metro Government, principally the Mayor’s Office and County Council. Through its strategic planning process, JPA defined the occupants, size, cost, and location of the new building, as well as the occupants, stacking plan, and renovation costs of the historic Courthouse and Ben West Building. JPA worked closely with two different architectural teams on the new and historic renovation projects to provide design review and oversight.

Justice A. A. Birch Building During the planning process for the historic courthouse, it was determined that the building should be vacated in order to safely and cost-effectively refurnish and upgrade that facility. JPA took the lead on planning, designing, and relocating the Court System into 230,000 square feet of temporary transition space. For three years, the Courts operated effectively in an office park approximately three miles from the current site. JPA also oversaw the relocation of the Courts from the transition space back to the new Courthouse, known as the Justice A.A. Birch Building, and to the renovated historic Courthouse and Ben West Building in downtown Nashville.

As JPA’s facility planning role expanded, and as the County and Court became comfortable with JPA’s credibility and performance, JPA was also asked to provide operational analysis and recommendations for various judicial system functions. JPA performed court security staffing analysis, and worked extensively with the General Sessions Court to develop a docketing system for the new building. JPA also reviewed procedures and policies for the County’s night court system in order to improve efficiencies for the police department and to expedite case processing.

Metro Nashville Court Projects

  • Justice A.A. Birch Building – 260,000 sq. ft. (16 courtrooms); $47 million; completed in 2006
  • Historic Courthouse – 220,000 sq. ft. (13 courtrooms); $35 million; completed in 2007
  • Ben West Building – 34,000 sq. ft.; $6 million; completed in 2007
  • Metro Center Transition Space – 230,000 sq. ft. (20 courtrooms); $13 million; completed in 2003