Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford, Maryland Judiciary Celebrate Groundbreaking for New Catonsville Courthouse
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford today joined the Maryland Department of General Services for the groundbreaking for the new Catonsville District Courthouse in Baltimore County. The 130,000-square-foot facility, located on 5.9 acres in the Rolling Crossroads Professional Park, will have eight court rooms and house four state judicial agencies. General Services, who hosted the event and will oversee construction of this project, provides a wide variety of essential state services, including designing and building facilities.
Lt. Governor Rutherford served as the keynote speaker, and attendees included Department of General Services Secretary Ellington Churchill, Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera, District Court Chief Judge John Morrissey, and Baltimore County District Court Administrative Judge Dorothy Wilson.
“The Catonsville District Courthouse is an important facility to our state and judicial system,” said Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford. “Projects like the new courthouse, which will create construction jobs and provide improved services to our citizens, represent the burgeoning economic development and job growth in our state and is another example of how we are Changing Maryland for the Better.”
Much has changed since the existing courthouse at Wilkins and Walker Avenues was constructed 35 years ago, and the new courthouse design will include state-of-the-art technology and essential security upgrades to meet today’s environment.
“The Maryland Judiciary is committed to ensuring that the courthouses and other facilities of the Maryland Judiciary continue to meet the evolving needs of all Marylanders. We appreciate the support of the Governor’s Office and the General Assembly in making the Catonsville courthouse for the District Court a reality,” said Chief Judge Barbera. “Not only will the Catonsville District Court add much needed courtrooms in Baltimore County, allowing more cases to be heard, but the facility also will have the capacity to house services that increase access to justice, assuring court visitors the highest level of service.”
The contemporary design of the new courthouse reflects Maryland’s commitment to providing open, accessible, and customer-friendly design features at its courthouses. Convenient on-site parking is provided in an adjacent four and a half story, 425-vehicle parking garage. It also underscores Maryland’s commitment to a clean, healthy environment. It is eco-friendly, with bio-retention and water quality features to protect the health of the Chesapeake Bay. It also boasts a “green roof,” a first for General Services. The building will be energy efficient and will achieve, at a minimum, LEED Silver Certification.
“The District Court is where the vast majority of Marylanders experience the court system,” said Chief Judge Morrissey. “Our new Baltimore County District Court will be a step forward in courthouse design, integrating best practices for security and technology within a facility that will be certified for its environmental responsibility. The timing of its construction comes at an optimal time for us to launch MDEC in Baltimore County, which will connect court records filed in Catonsville to every MDEC-enabled court in the state.”
”The Department of General Services worked closely with the Judiciary to ensure that this new courthouse will meet its needs,” said Secretary Churchill. “As the lead agency for state building construction, we know the importance of delivering a quality project on time and on budget to our clients, and ultimately to the people of Maryland.”
“The Baltimore County District Court has one judge for every 63,000 residents, and we receive approximately 300,000 case filings each year,” said Judge Wilson. “Our judges and court personnel are committed to providing a secure environment for people to have their cases heard and access the services they need. In addition to the number of cases we hear each year, the District Court provides a place for people to access court records, self-help legal resources, and other court-related services.”
The District Court hears a wide range of case types, including motor vehicle (traffic) and boating violations and other misdemeanors and specified felonies, domestic violence, and peace order petitions, landlord-tenant disputes, small claims and other civil cases involving limited dollar amounts, and replevin (recovery of wrongfully taken or detained goods). Each county and Baltimore City has at least one District Court location. A case in the District Court is tried before a judge only, as there are no jury trials in District Court.
The estimated construction cost is $54.5 million, which includes the courthouse and parking garage. The projected opening of new courthouse is March 2019.