MANSFIELD — The Magisterial District Court in Mansfield, headed by Judge Tiffany Cummings, has a new location.
The building, modeled after the Elkland district court building opened in January 2018, is located in the I-99 Industrial Park at the intersection of Routes 15 (future I-99) and 6. It replaces the former court building located at 267 South Main St.
The new building opened Jan. 7. Act 13 impact fee funds were used to construct the 3,800-square-foot building. The county broke ground on June 17, and the $1.2 million project was completed a month early and $100,000 under budget, said project manager Marc Rice. The cost savings are due to not running into any unsuitable soils, which were indicated as possible by geotech core borings.
The new building offers several security features, additional parking and more room for staff and those using the courtroom: defendants, witnesses, attorneys and law enforcement.
“Just not having to worry about the public and employee safety just helps us do our jobs better,” said Cummings.
Visitors enter a lobby and are greeted by staff in a secured office area. Prisoners access the building through a different entrance and are restrained inside one of two holding areas. There are separate holding areas for both men and women which can, if needed, by used by either sex if there are no prisoners of the opposite sex.
There’s also a separate bathroom for prisoners from the male and female visitor facilities.
There are conference rooms where attorneys can consult with law enforcement or clients, and victims or witnesses can be separated from the alleged perpetrators.
The new building has cameras, concrete barriers and utilities and computer infrastructure is housed inside, unlike the previous site.
It is also more efficient, said Rice, using LED lights and heating and electric that turn off when not needed.
That’s important for both safety and efficiency as the courtroom sees many cases, said officials. Due to COVID-19, the courtroom was not as busy as in 2019.
There were 202 criminal cases in 2019, 151 in 2020; 151 civil in 2019, 111 in 2020; 45 landlord-tenant in 2019, 32 in 2020; 2,236 traffic citations in 2019, 1,641 in 2020; and 382 non-traffic citations in 2019, 228 in 2020.