Steve Lash//June 13, 2019
//June 13, 2019
It will be out with the very old and in with the very new in Centreville on Monday.
Queen Anne’s County will open a state-of-the-art circuit courthouse, fully ready for the high-tech needs of electronic filings and the recording of courtroom activities as well as being in full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Maryland Judiciary stated Thursday.
The $20 million courthouse, at 200 N. Commerce St., will replace the building the circuit court has called home for the past 224 years. That facility, across the street at 100 Courthouse Square, was built during President George Washington’s first term. It will be Maryland’s oldest courthouse in continuous operation until its doors are closed for the final time on Friday afternoon, according to the judiciary.
“When a courthouse is to be built in a county with the rich historic setting that characterizes Centreville and Queen Anne’s County, additional care and thought must be taken to honor the history and to serve the needs of the people of this county today, tomorrow, and well into the future,” Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera said in a statement Thursday. “This new courthouse does exactly that.”
The judiciary called the new courthouse the state’s first to be “all-electronic” and prepared to handle filings under the Maryland Electronic Courts system, popularly known as MDEC. The building will also have a recording system for courtroom proceedings from CourtSmart Digital Systems in North Chelmsford, Massachusetts.
“The new courthouse brings Queen Anne’s County into the 21st century and provides increased security and ADA compliance, as well as additional courtrooms and space for services and staff,” Queen Anne’s County Administrative Judge Thomas G. Ross said in a statement.
In a nod to the more things change, the more they remain the same, the operating hours of the new courthouse will still be Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Telephone numbers will also be the same.
“We’ve gone from being the oldest to the newest courthouse in the state of Maryland,” Queen Anne’s County Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Hager said in a statement. “While we will miss the charm of our historic courthouse, we look forward to serving the citizens in a 21st century courthouse allowing us to provide improved access to justice for all.”s