Largest capital project in Howard County history

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Today, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball, State, and local officials cut the ribbon on the new Howard County Circuit Courthouse. The 238,000 square foot facility was completed on time and on budget, despite the pandemic, through Howard County’s first public-private partnership (P3). The new courthouse is the largest capital project in Howard County history and replaces the County’s 175-year-old historic courthouse that presented numerous deficiencies and challenges. Photos of the event can be found here.

Howard County’s new Circuit Courthouse is an outstanding achievement and a model for the rest of our country. This was a monumental feat and would not have been possible without the dedication and partnership of Edgemoor-Star America Judicial Partners, the entire design-build team including Clark Construction, Harkins Builders, HOK, and Johnson Controls, our local business community, and many County employees who have overseen this project from the beginning. Standing here today, it’s clear that our team has created a beautiful space that will improve our public safety, is environmentally sustainable, and provides greater access to justice for our community.

Calvin Ball
Howard County Executive

The new courthouse features a four-story atrium, a large entryway for safety screening for those entering the Courthouse and separate hallways and elevators for detainees. The Courthouse also includes office space for the Howard County State’s Attorney, Howard County Sheriff, Howard County Bar Association, Maryland Public Defender, Clerk of the Court and Register of Wills. Additionally, there is a courtroom for a sixth judge, a larger and more comfortable jury assembly area, and a 682-space parking garage adjacent to the building.  

“The mission of the Maryland Judiciary is to provide fair, efficient, and effective justice for all,” said Judge William V. Tucker, County Administrative Judge, Howard County Circuit Court. “Access to this justice reaches more people as public users can navigate a variety of legal services in one building. Additionally, our legal clinics and the bar library are both larger and able to provide more resources to more litigants. We will be able to expand alternative dispute resolution programs, interpreter services, and work with more community organizations in order to offer lower cost options for court-ordered services.”

The project won multiple awards from P3 Bulletin including Best Social Infrastructure Project, Best Financial Structure, and Government Agency of the Year. The courthouse will be certified as LEED Gold for sustainability. Notably, the project did not result in the removal of any existing trees on site and planted 100 new trees. Overall, the impervious surfaces on the site were reduced by 50%. Additionally, solar arrays will be placed in the adjacent field to the courthouse. The solar arrays are projected to supply 59% of the building's energy demand and produce 1,177,500 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. This is roughly the equivalent of powering 141 homes and the CO2 offset by this clean energy generation is equivalent to planting 13,090 trees.

"I would like to commend Howard County for its forward-thinking approach to this project,” said Brian Dugan, CEO of Edgemoor-Star America Judicial Partners. “As the first public building outside of California delivered using this performance-based P3 model, it has been a truly collaborative process from the beginning. Thanks to the incredible efforts of the entire development team and Howard County to overcome challenges presented by Covid and deliver this landmark project safely on time, I'm thrilled to now witness the smiles on the faces of the officials, staff, and public who have moved into or utilized the new courthouse in its first week of operations. For Edgemoor-Star America Judicial Partners as the developer, that is what this is all about -- helping Howard County realize its vision and now seeing the spaces used as intended."

"This project is the ideal example of many County departments coming together in a collaborative process to deliver a much-needed facility to the residents of Howard County," said Lonnie R. Robbins, Chief Administrative Officer. "When we started this journey, we expected our first P3 project to go well, but we didn’t expect to win three international awards for it. For that, I couldn’t be prouder of our team." 

More than 2,000 workers and 100 companies were involved in the two-year construction project, which focused on using minority and veteran owned businesses for construction, operations, maintenance and supplies. Overall $117 million in contracts were awarded to Maryland-based firms, $22 million in contracts were awarded to Equal Business Opportunity (EBO) firms, and $19 million in contracts were awarded to Howard County-based firms.

“Clark is proud to have led the design-build efforts for the project in concert with the County, HOK, and the entire design team, Harkins Builders, Edgemoor-Star America Judicial Partners, and all of our trade partners, including the local and minority small business partners to deliver this critical asset for the Howard County community,” said Mike Hartman, division president at Clark Construction

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Circuit Court
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Ribbon Cutting

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