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$140M Justice Center Opens On Historic Hackensack Site

RSC Architects worked with Bergen County to create a modern six-story, 130,000-square-foot government building at Two Bergen County Plaza that also complements its historic surroundings.
RSC Architects worked with Bergen County to create a modern six-story, 130,000-square-foot government building at Two Bergen County Plaza that also complements its historic surroundings. Photo Credit: Contributed
Here's the new multi-purpose conference center.
Here's the new multi-purpose conference center. Photo Credit: Contributed

HACKENSACK, N.J. -- The new $140 million Bergen County Justice Center has opened its doors in Hackensack.

Sitting on a historic site, the six-floor, 130,000-square-foot facility is the centerpiece of a six-year plan to modernize and upgrade the county's justice center complex.

Hackensack-based RSC Architects designed the building.

"Two Bergen County Plaza is a tremendous new addition to the county's government complex and a prudent investment of public funds," said Bergen County Administrator Julien Neals.

It not only brings a unique, traditional design created by RSC Architects but also complements the historic surroundings while accommodating for modern upgrades in security, technology and amenities. Two Bergen is now home to critical government services and we are confident that it will stand for many years as a symbol of the pride we feel for community.

As the first modern addition to the justice center complex, which also includes a historic county jail and courthouse, the new building provides needed improvements in functionality while fitting in with the existing historic buildings.

The building will serve as the new home of the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office, Sheriff's Department, Surrogate Office and Tax Board.

"The project presented a unique set of challenges from an architectural and design standpoint, as we needed to balance the 21st century needs of Bergen County with the preservation of the site's rich cultural history," said John Capazzi, president of RSC Architects.

"We worked closely with New Jersey's Historic Preservation Office to create a design that would mold with the 'Beaux-Arts' architectural style of the adjacent historic courthouse."

Due to the site's historic status and configuration, design and materials had to be carefully selected to complement the existing buildings, the firm noted. The firm created an exterior design with a strong historic character by incorporating "additive massing" with projecting porticos and a recessed top floor.

"We chose to use pre-cast concrete panels for construction, which can be fabricated off-site in lots of different designs, shipped here and craned up to be placed on the steel frame," said project manager Jeffrey Schlecht. "This allowed us to incorporate unique details that hint at classical elements while working with a durable product on a site with limited space."

The building's first floor houses a central main lobby, cafeteria, conference center and tax office. The higher floors house the sheriff's office, prosecutor's office and surrogate's office. A data center operated by the Sheriff's Department, with cell signal and emergency radio booster antenna systems, is on the sixth floor.

There is also a two-story bridge connection to the Justice Center Complex.

RSC is now beginning design work to renovate the vacated portions of the historic Bergen County Courthouse.

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