Judge Lobbied for 14-Foot Courthouse Ceilings
Willis urged City Council to keep height in downtown proposal, saying Spotsylvania Courthouse regrets 12-foot ceilings.
Correction: an earlier version of this story had an incorrect transcription of the judge's quote and the story has been adjusted to correct the quote.
In a rare public plea to City Council, Circuit Court Judge Gordon F. Willis wrote Fredericksburg Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw on July 19 to urge the governing body to keep the ceilings in the proposed downtown courthouse at 14 feet.
Council voted 5-1-1 to keep the ceilings on all three floors at 14 feet on Tuesday after there was discussion about dropping the ceilings two feet on each floor. The design-build team for the courthouse, First Choice, said it would cost more to redesign the building to the lower ceilings.
Willis said that the ceiling height is below recommended guidelines and are a "bare minimum."
"To decrease the ceiling height will detract from the overall presence of the courtroom, impair the acoustics and leave inadequate space for the hanging of our historic portraits of past judges so they will not be subject to vandalism," Willis wrote.
Willis also said users of Spotsylvania County's new courthouse regret it was built with 12-foot ceilings.
The letter is attached as a PDF to this article.