The Lucas County Courthouse is beginning construction on an elevator that is to carry only defendants and prisoners.
The elevator, which will cost nearly $1 million to install, will improve public use of the courthouse, county officials said.
"Right now, [prisoners] are using the same elevator as the public," court administrator Jean Atkin said. "It's very disruptive."
Ms. Atkin said having defendants and members of the public use the same elevator also caused "contraband issues" with people who are headed to the county jail.
The elevator, which is on the southeast end of the building, is expected to be completed by the spring of 2009.
Workers began the project about three weeks ago.
The elevator will be wider than the building's current elevators, allowing emergency workers to use it in an emergency.
The current elevators are not big enough to allow a patient to lie down, often forcing emergency workers to carry patients down flights of stairs.