Seneca County Joint Justice Center
In a joint endeavor, Seneca County and the City of Tiffin came together to commission the Seneca County Joint Justice Center, a building that serves both the city and county while also paying homage to its predecessor, a historic courthouse that was demolished in 2012. Located on the same site as the former Seneca County Courthouse and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the justice center not only meets the needs of multiple government entities, but also incorporates features of the original building to effectively memorialize an iconic rural county courthouse in a historic downtown district.
SMBH, Inc.’s main goal was to assist the design team in resolving operational and space-planning issues for the dual court systems by combining them into a single facility—all while staying within the project’s financial constraints. The building is a steel-frame structure with concrete slabs on metal deck. The fourth-floor mansard roof is pierced by dormers and framed with cold-formed metal framing (CFMF). The lower three stories are clad in brick and stone veneer backed by CFMF. Lateral loads are resisted by two elevator and two stair shafts that are constructed with load-bearing reinforced concrete masonry units.
This project was unique because it required a high level of collaboration between the owners, architect, engineer and contractors. The community was passionate about preserving the character of its historic downtown square location, resulting in the county and city assembling a design committee to guide the building’s exterior development. In addition, SMBH worked with the architect and design team to develop a plan that consolidated city and county services into one facility. The construction manager was onboard early in the process and provided valuable cost estimates throughout design to keep the project on budget.