Mineral Wells Area News

District Court Seeks Technology Update

District Court Seeks Technology Update
August 23
07:49 2023

By Amy Bearden / Mineral Wells Area News

County Commissioners to upgrade sound quality in the District Court Room

As Commissioner’s begin to finalize the budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year, it appears the Palo Pinto County District Court will receive funds to upgrade the acoustics as well as modernize the technology available in the room sometime next year.

Officials signed a contract with Media Design Group Inc for just over $37,000 to create a plan that will improve the sound quality in the court room as well as allow for better presentation of evidence during trials.

MDG began studying the facility in 2019 just before Covid put a halt in the court system across the State. As trials have begun to ramp up again, County officials are moving forward to improve the experience during legal proceedings.

Rick Robinson, lead consultant for MDG, says when they are studying the audio and acoustics of a room, they try reach an ambient noice measurement of 20 to 30 decibels, much like the noise level of a library. Unfortunately, the numbers his group measured in 29th District Court Room were no where near that standard.

“Your levels reached 70 decibels, which is at least more than double the levels that are acceptable in a court room setting,” said Robinson.

Robinson went on to explain the biggest noise culprit is the heat and air system and recommends re-routing the A/C ducts and mechanical system to improve the sound quality He also spoke about technology upgrades that will allow prosecutors to present evidence in a much more efficient manner, including large video screens to display evidence, as well as sound proofing the jury room to protect the integrity of trials.

MDG says their proposal is turn key and will oversee the design and implementation of a new system. A total cost of the project is unknown at this time, but sources close to the project say it could be near the six-figure mark and would likely cause the court room to shut down for a couple weeks while the project is completed. A timeline was not finalized but officials hope work can begin in early 2024.

Check out a portion of MDG’s presentation in the video below and hear the Commissioner’s vote concerning the project.

MDG Consultant Rick Robinson presents a plan to modernize Palo Pinto County’s District Court Room