Vending Areas

The type of food service will depend upon the availability of food service near the courthouse, preferences of the facility owners and users, cost, and operational considerations. If restaurants are available within walking distance of the courthouse, food service may not be necessary. If, however, surrounding restaurants are scarce, consider incorporating a cafeteria in the design scheme.

While a full-service cafeteria may not be required, a small snack bar, or vending area, may be provided simply as an additional convenience for facility users. A cafeteria would typically include two separate seating areas, one for the general public and court staff, and a more private one for judges and jurors. Food service areas are generally located on the lower floors of the facility because of the volume of public traffic and the ease of receiving supplies.

Some courthouses have a newsstand which is privately operated, often in conjunction with a snack bar. Because of the volume of public traffic and the waiting periods involved, this provides an added convenience for courthouse users. If a gift and news shop is provided, it should be located on the lower floors of the facility, possibly near the jury assembly area. While retail areas provide convenience for facility users, consider the effect on the facility's image. Determining the proper balance between convenience and image is an issue each jurisdiction will have to address during the planning and design stages. Vending machines and newspaper boxes, which are often located in public corridors of the courthouse, should be located where it does not create congestion and does not detract from the image of the court facility. Security is a serious consideration when planning for retail space in a courthouse.