Wollongong courthouse to get $15m facelift

Wollongong Courthouse will get a much-needed makeover this year when construction begins on the building's $15 million renovations.

Although plans for the long-awaited overhaul are yet to be finalised, construction is expected to start in the second half of this year.

A decision is pending as to whether the whole building will be shut down during the work or, alternatively, if the courthouse will be closed section by section.

Consultation is set to take place with court users in coming months to determine how proceedings will run during the construction period and if court sittings could be relocated.

The renovations will include the addition of a new registry, allowing patrons to browse legal resources online at a computer kiosk.

The original entrance to the courthouse will be reopened and upgraded with a lift and handrails.

The layout of the courthouse will also be modified to reduce the risk of prisoners coming into contact with victims and the public.

Other features of the upgrade include a new callover court, additional interview rooms, improved jury assembly and deliberation rooms and improved fire safety facilities.

Attorney-General Greg Smith said the project would improve court security and provide better facilities for juries, the legal profession and courthouse staff.

"More than 9000 Local, District and Supreme Court matters are lodged in Wollongong each year and the government recognises the pivotal role the city's courthouse plays in the justice system," he said.

Sydney architects Jackson Teece Chesterman were appointed this month to draw up the plans.

The renovations are the latest stage in ongoing improvements to the courthouse, which recently received upgraded audio visual link and CCTV facilities.

The court's historic clock tower has also been restored.

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