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Lake County Judicial Center Expansion

Tavares, FL


The new Justice Center for Tavares, Florida serves as the keystone for a complex of buildings and open spaces for a four-block County government campus. By reorienting the existing judicial building, the new courts facility formally addresses Main Street with a public plaza providing a formal setting and space for procession. This campus spans both sides of the downtown thoroughfare and incorporates a landscaped traffic circle. Design inspiration for the courthouse, in part, came from the County’s assemblage of public buildings including the 1922 Historic Courthouse, the circular-atriumed Courts Annex, the current Judicial Building and the County Criminal Justice facility. In keeping with this very diverse late 20th-century context, the new courthouse is transitional in its planar architecture of brick, glass, and metal, yet clearly expressive of today. The material color palette and vocabulary of the campus are reinterpreted at new scales and with new forms. Along Main Street, the southern facade reveals the civic purpose of the courthouse with a large window marking the court floors public lobbies. This prominent elevation evokes references to the opposing Historic Courthouse with its masonry arcaded base, columnar expression and metallic sunscreen cornice. Sunlight-filled public spaces and courtrooms symbolize the openness and impartiality represented by our process of law and humanize the setting for visitors, judges, and staff. The courthouse is simply organized: upper floor public spaces facing Main Street serving 12 courtrooms; judicial chambers and clerical functions in the administrative wing paralleling the existing justice building which is renovated to house the Clerk of Court, State Attorney and Public Defender offices. These components are stitched together by the five-story, precast-concrete and glass atrium “tower” which contains the public elevators. This vertical referential space serves to orient visitors to both the civic purpose of the building and their own civic responsibilities as participants.



Lake County Board of Commissioners


Type of facility


Type of construction

Addition, Renovation

Site Area

10.4 acres

Area of building

288,126 SF

Total cost of construction


Status of Project




Heery International

Audio-Visual and Acoustic Design

Newcomb & Boyd


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