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2015 News

Commissioners, Board of Judges Dedicate New Bucks County Justice Center during Weekend Festivities

January 12, 2015

Inside a walnut paneled ceremonial courtroom that will be the scene of countless legal and public proceedings over the ensuing decades, a new era of jurisprudence in Bucks County dawned on the morning of Saturday, January 10, 2015. Flanked by the Board of Bucks County Commissioners, the Board of Judges and Senior Judges, as well as local, state and federal dignitaries, President Judge Jeffrey L. Finley led the Dedication Ceremony of the Bucks County Justice Center.

The event opened with a formal procession of judges to the bench, forming two rows along with the commissioners, Congressman Michael G. Fitzpatrick and Pennsylvania Lt. Governor James F. Cawley (both former commissioners) in a room filled to the exits with invited guests. Following the Pledge of Allegiance and an invocation by Dr. John Willingham, pastor of Doylestown Presbyterian Church, Commissioner Chairman Robert G. Loughery delivered welcoming remarks.

“It’s an auspicious and historic day for Bucks County,” said Commissioner Loughery, who is serving his fourth consecutive year as chair of the three-member board that includes Charles H. Martin and Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW. Chairman Loughery greeted the many elected officials filling the fourth-floor room, including state legislators, Bucks County row officers and former commissioners Sandra Miller and Andrew Warren. Describing commissioners’ business as somewhat routine with regard to approving contracts and managing financial matters, the chairman noted the unique nature of the Justice Center dedication, adding, “We are part of history today. I know this facility will serve the residents of Bucks County and the judiciary well into the future.”

Judge Finley focused on the growth of Bucks County since the current Courthouse/Administration buildings were completed in the early 1960’s. He cited increased court requirements, security issues, and enormous changes in technology, praising leaders of the project and his president judge predecessors the Hon. R. Barry McAndrews, the Hon. David W. Heckler and the Hon. Susan D. Scott for their “vision and perseverance.”

Commissioner Martin, who has served on the board since 1995, traced the Justice Center project back to a 1999 study. Describing the new facility as “tasteful but not overdone,” the longest-tenured commissioner in Bucks County’s 333-year history observed: “The motto has been to do it right, not necessarily to do it fast.”

Commissioner Marseglia waved a mock white flag to signal the end to any personal opposition to the building. She also quoted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who believed that “love is the only force capable of turning an enemy into a friend.”

Several of the speakers offered thanks to County Director of Operations Jerry Anderson, who was the 
liaison between the project contractors/vendors and the County of Bucks. Lt. Governor Cawley, who served as commissioner from 2005-2011 (when the building’s contracts were approved by a 2-1 vote), compared the occasion to “VBC Day,” a reference to World War II-ending victory celebration dates. Congressman Fitzpatrick, who served as a commissioner from 1995-2005, congratulated county government and presented President Judge Finley an American flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Rounding out the list of speakers was Doylestown Borough Council President Det Ansinn, who was one of 22 Borough Council representatives who served during the planning and construction of the Justice Center. “This is a building that will serve generations beyond us,” he told the audience.

The ceremony was followed by a series of ribbon cuttings in the two-story glass lobby of the 285,000-square-foot building, which features space for all of the County’s court-related department personnel to conduct business. It is the fourth courthouse built in Doylestown Borough, following progressive facilities erected in 1812, 1878 and 1960-62.

On Sunday, January 11, a three-hour public open house at the 100 N. Main St. location attracted more than 1,200 curious visitors. Chairman Loughery joined President Judge Finley and the Hon. Robert J. Mellon to answer questions about the building, its features and its proposed operations. Court operations are expected to commence following a series of moving dates, the first of which will take place over the extended Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend.