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Government & Politics

Akron Considering Proposal For New Courthouse

photo of Judge Oldfield

A 1978 study found that Akron's courthouse needed to be a more customer-service-friendly building.  Nearly forty years later, City Council is considering a proposal for a $21 million facility that would sit a block away.

The new facility would require demolition of the Morley Building -- next to Quaker Square -- which was home to Summit County Public Health until 2014.  Currently, the city is analyzing square footage needs for the new building, and no designs have been made yet.

Judge Joy Oldfield is overseeing the project, and says the new building will be paid for not by tax dollars but from the Courthouse Special Projects Fund, established a decade ago.

“The purpose of the fund was for things like court facilities, court equipment [and] different things that the court might need that we could divert some of the court revenue towards, and then not impact the city’s general operating fund.”

Oldfield says several studies have been conducted in the past that showed they’re outgrowing the current building.  She adds that the new courthouse would place an emphasis on the public’s safety and convenience.

“We also want to create better accessibility for people with disabilities.  And this building doesn’t accommodate that in the doorways and where the building is situated.  The security function is important for our police officers who handle our court security: to be able to transport prisoners in a way that allows them to do it without intersecting with the general public.”

Oldfield says the police department could possibly stay in its current home and take over the court’s current home in the Harold K. Stubbs building.  The Summit County Prosecutor’s office, Clerk of Courts and Judge’s chambers would all would move to the new facility.