Fentress Inc. conducted a functional assessment of the Henderson County Courthouse in Hendersonville, North Carolina. The assessment included focus groups and interviews with subject matter experts from the court and all county tenants housed within the facility, as well as independent research on regional demographics and a comprehensive architectural evaluation. During the focus groups and interviews, workload, staffing, and space trends were identified, and projections for future needs were discussed at length. Fentress used this input as well as the conclusions drawn from research and analysis to develop workload, staffing, and space projections for the court and related components 30 years into the future.
The existing facility was assessed utilizing CORE, Fentress’ proprietary evaluation tool. The assessment covered six key areas: space standards, space functionality, security, building condition, building systems, and technology. The baseline data generated by the CORE tool helped identify areas of need, and the results of the CORE tool evaluation were combined with the results of the group and individual sessions, along with the supplemental research and analysis to develop and evaluate design alternatives for a renovation, annex, or new courthouse project.
Three strategies were selected to move forward for further consideration. Fentress presented the results of the full study to the County Board of Commissioners. The results were very well received and set the stage for the next phase of planning to consider how to incorporate the adjacent jail into the county planning effort. Fentress is currently part of a team that was awarded a contract to participate in this planning phase.
“It was a privilege to work with [Fentress] throughout the project. I was impressed by their thoughtful approach to a project that had several stakeholders, a wide variety of requirements, and existing, and often competing, visions for space in the facility. Their professionalism, sincere interest, and commitment to the project was obvious. They integrated well with all staff involved, and quickly became part of the team.
The Space Needs Assessment, when formally presented to the Board of Commissioners by [Fentress], supplied all the information requested. However, it went further than that, by using data to drive the process, rather than speculation and unsubstantiated “needs.” It provided the Board with the ability to make well informed decisions and gave some options for them to consider as they decide how to advance those decisions going forward.” Amy Brantley, Assistant County Manager