UNION COUNTY, NJ — The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Union County Improvement Authority hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the new Union County Courthouse Cherry Street Annex.
Located at 2 Cherry St., Elizabeth, the new courthouse has six state-of-the-art courtrooms and facilities that will serve families throughout Union County. The event brought together county officials, judges and legal professionals from across Union County.
“As a judiciary, we are proud of this courthouse for many reasons,” said the Honorable Karen Cassidy, assignment judge for the Union County Vicinage. “This is the first time that litigants are able to come to a facility that will address their needs in one location.”
“The new courthouse is a dignified, modern and functional facility for the usage of families, the judiciary, our employees, and the community as a whole,” said Union County Freeholder Chairman Bruce Bergen. “We are pleased to support the construction of a permanent facility that is dedicated to helping those in need.”
Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage, whose community is hosting the facility, added: “The new Union County Annex building not only contributes to the revitalization of Elizabeth’s downtown area, but also provides additional services for our city and county residents. Elizabeth is proud to be the county seat and looks forward to having more resources to support families in need as well as help those seeking assistance and legal guidance.”
Union County Acting Prosecutor Grace Park said the courthouse will also be home to the newly established Union County Family Justice Center, which is expected to open in late summer 2017. It will provide crime victims with legal assistance, crisis counseling, court advocacy, logistical support and housing aid.
“We believe this will positively transform the way in which domestic violence receive services in Union County,.” Park said.
The new facility serves as an extension of the current courthouse. It features 78,071 square feet of new space.
The building was designed in accordance with NJ Courthouse Facility Guidelines and embraces the latest in technology and security features to serve judges, staff, lawyers and litigants. The courthouse includes four interconnected spatial and circulation systems, each separate and secure:
● Six state-of-the-art courtrooms and support facilities
● Judges’ chambers and support staff offices
●Prisoner Intake, holding and attorney/client conference spaces
●Sheriff’s Department security control facilities
The public enters the courthouse through an elevated courtyard and secured lobby, providing direct access to court-related administrative functions and stair/elevators connections to courtroom waiting areas on the floors above. Other public spaces include a cafeteria, children’s waiting room, attorney lounge, conference, hearing and mediation rooms and several waiting areas. The building is fully accessible to the handicapped and provides surface parking with separate and secured parking lot for judges.
The project was also designed to receive USGBC LEED® Certification.