July 20, 2011
Commissioners, President Judge Join Doylestown Borough Officials to Break Ground for New Justice Center
A long-anticipated milestone in the evolution of the Bucks County Justice Center complex was reached on the morning of July 19, as Bucks County Commissioners Charles H. Martin, chairman, and Robert G. Loughery joined former Commissioner and Pennsylvania Lt. Governor James F. Cawley, Esq., Bucks County President Judge Susan D. Scott and Doylestown Borough Mayor Libby White to put shovel to earth in a ceremonial groundbreaking. The kickoff to the $84 million Justice Center took place at the building site, on a steamy weekday morning. According to county Director of Operations Jerry Anderson, the tentative timetable for construction calls for an August, 2013 opening.
“This is an important day because we are launching the largest – and probably most expensive – project that the county has ever undertaken,” stated Chairman Martin. He traced the timeline of the last decade, which involved collaboration with three president judges, including Judge Scott.
The groundbreaking took place adjacent to the 1909-era Doylestown Armory, a portion of which will be preserved as part of the new Justice Center. In the background, construction workers moved some of the 40,000 cubic yards of dirt that will be excavated from the site over the next several months.
Commissioner Martin also read from a letter from Congressman Michael G. Fitzpatrick, who wanted to attend the event but was called to Washington for budget deliberations: “I want to personally congratulate you, the Bucks County Board of Judges, and the citizens of Bucks County on today’s groundbreaking. As a former commissioner, I am aware of the substantial planning that has led to today. This new facility will be an important addition to the Doylestown community.”
President Judge Scott joined several members of the county judiciary, including the Hon. Robert O. Baldi, the Hon. Diane E. Gibbons and the Hon. James M. McMaster. Also on hand were former president judge and current District Attorney David W. Heckler, county Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler and former county Chief Operating Officer David M. Sanko.
“I can’t tell you how glad I am and, on behalf of the Board of Judges, how glad we all are to be here today,” Judge Scott observed. “There are many judges who never thought this day would come. Some of them are retired now.”
Commissioner Loughery pointed his remarks toward the work to be done, both at the new Justice Center site and in plotting the future of the current Courthouse/Administration Building. “It’s a privilege to be part of such an important project for our judicial system,” he noted. “I’m thrilled to be starting a new chapter and looking to the future.”
Doylestown Borough Mayor Libby White expressed her appreciation for the working relationship between Borough and County officials throughout the new Parking Garage construction, the former parking Garage demotion, and moving ahead with the project. “It is an honor to speak on behalf of Doylestown Borough on this historic and auspicious occasion,” Mayor White said. “I would like to commend Borough officials and the Bucks County Commissioners for their ability to work together on this project, which is truly a tremendous task.”
Mayor White also addressed “green” building elements that will be incorporated into the Justice Center construction. “It’s really amazing that we are now ready to put bricks and mortar together, and we are doing it in the most environmentally friendly way possible.” She singled out efforts such as recycling construction debris, recycled construction materials, insulation upgrades and the use of high efficiency windows, lighting and heating and cooling elements. These elements will produce a cost saving of more than $600,000.
Lieutenant Gov. Cawley reflected on his involvement with the project as a county commissioner from 2005-2011, stating: “Through the travail of ages, we are finally, finally here. I do remember working with then-President Judge Heckler to advance this project, and I want to thank him. I am only going to say what I have said throughout this project. I think if you talk to any commissioner, I don’t think there’s a single one who ran to spend this money, who ran to build this project. It was not something that we all wanted to do. We knew that we had to do it, in order for our county to continue to be the very special place that is. This project is a clear and ongoing commitment. I look forward to being back very soon for a ribbon cutting.”
Chairman Martin also thanked Borough officials, including Borough Manager John Davis and Assistant Borough Manager/Zoning Officer Phil Ehlinger. “We recognize as a county government we are really guests here in Doylestown Borough,” the chairman added.
After Doylestown Borough Council Vice President Lou White offered his remarks, Anderson concluded by introducing representatives of the companies that hold the six Justice Center contracts, including General Contractor Bock & Sons. Mr. Anderson then offered a few interesting facts about the upcoming construction timeline, including the 5,500 yards of contract that will be used. In addition, more than 2,000 tons of structural steel will be placed starting in September, 2011, and ending in December, 2011. In mid-October of this year, workers will install a 160-foot crane with a 200-foot boom. Precast concrete installation will begin in May, 2012, and the building should be covered by October, 2012.
For a complete audio account of the Justice Center Groundbreaking Ceremony, please visit the official county website, www.BucksCounty.org, and click on the “Justice Center” link on the home page.