In 2005, the U.S. government embarked upon a project to build a new U.S. District Courthouse in Newport News, the State of Virginia's 1st congressional district. The facility would replace the existing courthouse, an archaic facility that was unable to be effectively modified to meet the most current (let alone future) security standards mandated for government buildings.
The building needed to house several key elements – courtrooms, judges' chambers, inmate holding cells and staff areas – in a way that provided both a high level of security as well as ease and functionality for the daily business of running a judicial system. Specifically, the new U.S. District Courthouse needed to be:
Scannell developed a 38,000-square-foot facility that houses federal courtrooms, judges' chambers, inmate holding cells, a U.S. Marshal building command center and staff areas. The facility was designed in a way that balanced the security measures dictated by a U.S. government building with the local government's desire to provide a structure that is stable, open and reflective of the architecture and atmosphere of the local neighborhood. To accomplish this, Scannell:
The new U.S. District Courthouse in Newport News is a modern facility that meets all building system and security standards mandated for a federal building. Its innovative design allows all those involved with the judicial system in Newport News to operate within the facility in a manner that is both functional and flexible. As an added bonus, the historic look of the exterior, as well as its location right along the James River, make it a welcoming fixture in the neighborhood.