Natural light among the charms of new Fulton County jury room

Being called for jury duty in Fulton County just got a little more comfortable.

The county has opened a new jury assembly room, complete with charging stations and windows that overlook the Capitol. The carpet is new, as are the chairs. They’re comfortable, Superior Court court administrator Yolanda Lewis said, and they’re also not made of fabric — that makes them easier to clean, so the room doesn’t look grungy.

“We want them to have a good experience once they get in,” Lewis said.

While the old room was drab and filled with fluorescent light, the new one is bigger and uses technology to check people in more quickly. It has iPad kiosks where those called to jury duty can scan a code on their phones to confirm that they’ve arrived.

There are new digital monitors and a better sound system. In the old room, Lewis said, it was hard to tell who was talking.

“It allows you to actually hear the speech,” she said. “On one side of the room, you couldn’t see who was speaking.

The new jury room accommodates those with hearing and visual impairments, and is easier to navigate for people with physical disabilities, Lewis said. It also has a lactation room, for nursing mothers, and a business center with computers, printers and a fax machine.

“We want to not neglect the fact that we understand that people have a life outside the courthouse,” she said.

For the first time, there’s now a juror lounge with coffee and vending machines, where potential jurors can eat lunch while they’re waiting for their names to be called.

The room officially opens with a ceremony Friday, but has been in use over the summer. It’s been a hit, Lewis said.

“I was so excited because people were actually smiling,” she said. “People enjoyed the experience in a different space.”