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Girard Justice Center

Girard Justice Center


When existing facilities were deemed inadequate, the City of Girard wanted to construct an all-in-one justice facility.

Services Involved

  • Architecture
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Structural Design
  • Civil Engineering
  • Security System Design
  • Interior Design
  • Survey


2002 Civic Improvement Award Merit Award

Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber of Commerce

2001 Annual Design Award

American Institute of Architects (AIA) Eastern Ohio Chapter

Girard Justice Center

Home to more than 9,900 residents, the City of Girard, Ohio, hired ms consultants to supply programming and design for a new, 20,000 square foot Girard Justice Center. This award-winning facility houses police, court, and administrative functions.

Programming for Smooth and Safe Operations

Combining court and police operations requires careful management of space and access to ensure safety and efficiency. The ms team developed a floorplan that separates secured areas from public areas, including secured employee areas, elevators, and a prisoner holding room. To allow the combined facility to operate smoothly while maintaining security, the holding area is designed to allow visiting officers from other districts access without passing through public areas or requiring an escort from the City of Girard.

Something Old, Something New

Working within a limited site, the ms architects designed the new 20,000-square-foot justice center as an addition to the original City Hall. To create a cohesive design, the justice facility integrates the new with the old by borrowing elements and materials from the original buildings. Some of these design details include:


  • Inverted piers inspired by the traditional piers flanking City Hall’s windows
  • An exterior form that gives the appearance of an inner shell encompassed by an outer shell, creating visual interest
  • Use of textured brick on the justice center’s outer shell to match the original City Hall material
  • Creating contrast by using a smoother, brighter brick in the same color range on the inner shell of the justice center
  • Two-story glass lobby that filters in natural light
  • Police station designed of glass block for thermal performance and security

Form and Function

Not only does the Girard Justice Center showcase its design, but it also houses the city’s police station and court, functioning as an all-in-one justice center. On the first floor, the City of Girard Police Station contains a 24-hour 911 emergency response center, four eight-hour holding cells, interview rooms, and offices. The second floor is home to the Girard Municipal Court floor and includes a main courtroom that accommodates 100 visitors, the judge’s chambers, offices of the Public Defender and Prosecutor, and the Clerk of Courts. By using natural light and light wood in lieu of traditional darker wood, the courtroom generates an open and spacious feel throughout.

Mechanical System Details

The mechanical systems for the Girard Justice Center has more than $310,000 of fire protection and plumbing work specific to a justice facility. The design included:


  • Sprinkler system throughout the entire building, including both light hazard and ordinary hazard occupancies
  • Two fire suppression systems for the 911 emergency response center and other computer areas
  • Plumbing systems, including stainless steel penal type fixtures in the holding cells
  • Mechanical systems
  • Water source heat pumps used to transfer heat to and from each zone
  • Computer room cooling unit for the 911 dispatch area with a dry cooler for heat rejection
  • Ventilation unit with energy recovery wheel to reduce heating and cooling costs


All stakeholders declared The Girard Justice Center a success. The project also received national recognition with its feature in the National Center for State Courts’ Retrospective of Courthouse Design 1991-2001 publication,

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