The Upshur County Courthouse features a bench lift with three levels; adding flexibility and ADA compliance to the seat of the 26th judicial court judges, and making it only the second structure of its kind in West Virginia.

The Client

In Buckhannon, a laid-back and quaint town in northwest central West Virginia, you’ll find the Upshur County Courthouse. The building features a beautiful annex and plaza, with its dome and clock tower wholly restored in 2006, and the courthouse portico stonework renovated in 2007.

The Challenge

Despite the award-winning architecture, the courtroom area was lacking accessibility features, making the area off-limits for individuals in wheelchairs – all the way from the floor to the judge’s bench. The beautiful woodwork in the courtroom called for a custom solution to keep the visual appeal intact.

The Solution

DC Elevator installed a courtroom wheelchair lift with a custom-designed platform, to provide access for judges, clerks, court reporters, and jurors with a physical disability. The lift features three levels: The entry-level, the witness stand, and the judge’s bench level – all controlled according to ADA regulations.

Bringing ADA Compliance to a West Virginia Courthouse

If you believe the court judges, then the verdict is in: The renovated Upshur County Circuit Courtroom, funded graciously by the West Virginia Courthouse Facilities Improvement Authority, is a building of which the county can be proud. That’s why Judges Jacob Reger and Kurt Hall honored members of the Upshur County maintenance department in 2018 with a special plaque, thanking them for their hard work that made the courtroom handicapped-accessible and ADA compliant. We are honored and proud to have contributed our share.

The courtroom of the Upshur County Courthouse after its renovation.

We were tasked to provide a solution that answered the need for accessibility in the courtroom. Ideally, one that allows a person with a physical disability or impairment to fulfill their legal obligations with complete access and dignity, without disrupting court proceedings, or drawing unnecessary attention to the witness. The custom lift we installed, manufactured by Lift-U in Escalon, CA, matches all these needs perfectly:

Lack of access, exposed wiring, impaired visual aesthetics, and aging carpets were other criteria that needed to be addressed during the restoration:

Bench area pre-renovation: Simple stairs, open wires, and outdated carpet.

Director of Facilities Greg Harris and maintenance department employees Mike Campbell and Mike Haler worked closely with DC Elevator, matching the design of the woodwork to the custom lift, widening the lift and bench access, hiding the existing cables, and lay beautiful carpet in the lift and courtroom area.

Bench area post-renovation: ADA-compliant lift, hidden wires, and new carpet.