Designed by the famed architect, Major Thomas Lewinski, and opened in 1850, the historic Madison County Courthouse facility was not the first to occupy the site, but it would be this white, cruciform, greek revival structure that we all know today. Lewinski completed another central Kentucky project just a few years later – designing the current home at Ashland – the Henry Clay Estate.
In 1965 a two-story addition was added to the original building – adding new administrative and court-supporting spaces. Now – almost 60 years later – i/A and the rest of the design team are working on significant interior renovations, restorations, and addition which will facilitate critical improvements to the functionality and conditions of court operations.
Today – people in downtown Richmond have become all too familiar with the site of inmate “chain gangs” being escorted down the public sidewalks to the building to await trial. Once inside the courthouse, there’s nowhere for these inmates to go – often waiting in public hallways under armed guard. The building also is not currently handicap-accessible – making attending court proceedings difficult for visitors, staff, and even defendants.
The design for the new Madison County Courthouse will begin with critical functional upgrades, including secure entry for both staff and inmates and new secure holding facilities. A second courtroom will now occupy the ground floor space below the existing, second-floor courtroom, allowing county officials to meet the ever-increasing demand in court proceedings. The entire interior of the building will be gutted and renovated to bring the facility up to modern accessibility, fire protection, and code-compliance standards. The exterior will be carefully restored, with all new lighting systems.