Wake County Commissioners were joined by other local officials to celebrate the opening of the Wake County Justice Center on Monday, July 1, 2013. In an 11 a.m. opening ceremony, that included a ribbon cutting, speakers highlighted the importance of the facility to the public and the generational impact it will have on the community.
 
 
“Everyone in Wake County should be proud of the opening of the Justice Center. It is a monumental achievement,” said Wake County Board of Commissioners Chair Joe Bryan.
 
"As Abraham Lincoln said, 'The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.' This building will serve residents, businesses and others of this great county for many, days, weeks, months and years," said Bryan. "I am proud of the building, and for all that it will include. I am especially proud that it will not only meet the needs of Wake County today, but that it will continue to meet the needs for 50 years or more into the future."
 
"It is the future that we leave our enduring mark on today. A future for Wake County that is bright and open like this building," he concluded. "Built to meet the needs of today and be well prepared for our children and grandchildren."
 
Comm. Bryan's full remarks are available below.
 
 
Other speakers included:
  • Hon. Donald W. Stephens, Senior Resident Superior Court Judge
  • Hon. Robert B. Rader, Chief District Court Judge
  • C. Colon Willoughby, Wake County District Attorney
  • N. Lorrin Freeman, Wake County Clerk of Superior Court
  • Donnie Harrison, Wake County Sheriff
  • Laura M. Riddick, Wake County Register of Deeds
 
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The ceremony also highlighted the buildings where court has previously been held in Wake County (including the Wake County Courthouse that will continue to be used for Civil and Family Court proceedings).
 
The first building that provided court services was built in 1771. This early building was the meeting place for the County's governing board at the time, the County Justices, and was known as the Temple of Justice. It was also the prison and held the stocks for the County.
 
During the first Board of Commissioners meeting in the Justice Center, Comm. Bryan spoke about Wake County's business staying the same in changing times, " 'Wake County’s business has grown steadily through the years. Like a boy outgrowing one suit of clothes after another, Wake County has outgrown one courthouse after another. It outgrew the private home and log courthouse of 1771. It outgrew the new courthouse of 1795 on the present site. It outgrew the brick courthouse of 1837 and its enlargement in the 1880s. It outgrew the courthouse we have all seen on this site built in 1915. And in 1970 it has moved into this twelve-story building.'
 
Justice Ctr. Ribbon Cutting_070113 076.JPGThose words were originally spoken at the opening of the Courthouse across the street in 1970."
 
When Albert Coates spoke at that opening he saw the Courthouse as the nerve center of the County. It was home to not only the courts, but also the home of Wake County Government."
 
It was a place where Wake County government was in action. A hub of activity in the community. A place where every deed was recorded, the value of every piece of personal property listed, where disputes were settled and where justice was administered."
 
The times may have changed. Typewriters have been replaced by iPads. Services are offered online and card readers have replaced keys."
 
But things are also still the same. Today we celebrate the opening of a new center of government." 
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Between the Opening Ceremony and Ribbon Cutting at 11 a.m. and the first Board meeting at 2 p.m. a ceremonial joint session of district and superior court was held to
commemorate the opening of the Justice Center. Judges Hon. Donald W. Stephens, Senior Resident Superior Court Judge and Hon. Robert Rader, Chief District Court Judge presided over the ceremony.
 
Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, Hon. Sarah Parker; Chief Judge of the North Carolina Court of Appeals, Hon. John Martin; Robert L. McMillan, Jr.; and Wade Smith also spoke at ceremony held in courtroom 701.
 
 
The Justice Center has 19 courtrooms with space for four more in the future and is the largest, most complex facility built to date by Wake County. The below informational graphic was created to showcase the building and its unique features.