The Metro Nashville/Davidson County Courthouse is more than just a historic building – it is the central “nerve center” for city government, housing the mayor’s office, the Metro Council’s chambers, and city and county courts.
Completed in 1936, the courthouse anchors the public square overlooking the Cumberland River. The 247,400 square-foot building, which comprises 11 stories, was designed by Frederick Hirons of New York and Emmons Woolwine of Nashville.
In 2003, the courthouse underwent a major renovation. Barge Waggoner Sumner & Cannon was hired to restore the exterior and lobbies to their original art deco luster, and also to completely reconstruct the interior of the building, bringing it up to modern standards for security, fire protection, ADA accessibility, ventilation and energy management.
“This building houses a lot of history and is very important to our city, so we were really happy when remodeling plans were approved,” said Glenn Mohon with Metro’s Department of General Services. “It couldn’t have turned out any better. The building has retained its historic atmosphere, but also features technology, security and safety improvements.”
Aside from the building’s eye-catching lobbies and exterior, the courthouse is also renowned for the public park on the property, Public Square Plaza. The park features a central lawn, fountains, gardens, public art and plantings resting atop a five-level underground parking garage that can hold 1,200 cars. The Metro Courthouse is managed by Metro’s Department of General Services, with the Metro Parks and Public Works departments sharing ownership of the parking garage structure and the plaza grounds.
“Public Square Plaza has added a new dimension to the property,” Mohon said. “It’s not just a courthouse anymore, but a multiuse property that hosts concerts and provides downtown residents and employees a place to exercise or relax.”
WRLT-FM Lightning 100 held its Live on the Green concert series at Public Square Plaza for the second consecutive year in 2010, drawing crowds of more than 10,000 for some shows. Public Square Plaza was also recognized as one of the top green roof projects in North America by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities in 2007, and received the award for best nonbuilding structure by the Tennessee Concrete Association in the same year.
The historic courthouse was serviced by NTTC prior to the transition to Metro DES, and it has remained on the system since the changeover. The courthouse not only operates its HVAC systems from chilled water and steam supplied by Metro DES, but also is enrolled in the TVA/Enernoc/NES Demand Response program, which provides Metro considerable energy savings by its participation in the program.