Refurbished courtroom on display

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Common Pleas Judge John M. Solovan II and Commissioner Ginny Favede welcomed the public to view the refurbished courtroom Friday.

“I just want to thank the Belmont County Commissioners for initiating and supervising the renovation of my common pleas courtroom,” Solovan said, adding that this is the first renovation to the courtroom in close to 40 years. “The renovations have provided technological advances while at the same time preserved the dignity of the court and its historical decorum. The original bench, railings and jury box remain in their restored condition. Meanwhile, the commissioners have enhanced the electrical circuitry, audio and video upgrades, as well as advanced computer and recording devices which will assist in trial presentation. On behalf of the citizens of Belmont County.”

He added that the atmosphere leaves a positive impression on people visiting the court.

“It’s very reflective, and it’s reflective of the folks who come into the courtroom. It’s obvious that they immediately acknowledge the dignity of the courtroom and they are coming in and I’m happy to have the citizens here seeing that is a dignified procedure that we provide,” he said.

“Everyone seems to be extremely pleased, and they felt that it is long overdue. They felt it is very beautiful and very indicative of the dignity of the court,” said Favede.

“Everyone I have spoken to have been raving about the manner in which this was done,” said Solovan.

The renovation was completed in close to seven months. Favede noted the restoration included the original woodwork.

“It was very important to Judge Solovan that it be rendered back to its original state, and so we’re extremely pleased,” she said, noting that features include complete rewiring, a flat screen television and a drop-down screen to more effectively present trials and hearings. The recording system and computer are also being updated.

“It was hard getting to where it is, but it does represent what I think this court should look like,” Solovan said.

Favede credited Solovan for his patience in waiting until funding for the renovation was sufficient, although it was within the court’s authority to make a court order.

She said that this was one of the investments the commissioners would make in county services now that the area is growing and becoming more financially stable. Funding for the project came from casino revenue.

DeFrank can be reached at