Board fast tracks major capital projects
New sheriff's complex, courthouse get aggressive timetable for completion
"This is a very aggressive but necessary schedule to get these vital capital projects done," said Speaker Jim Moustis. "We have spent many years planning and preparing for this day, and now is the time for action. The longer we wait to build a new sheriff's facility and courthouse, the more costly and difficult it becomes to complete, not to mention having to face significant public safety issues. I applaud everyone that has worked hard to keep these initiatives moving forward."
"We hope to approve the design of the new sheriff's complex by September and go through a competitive bidding process for the construction phase this fall," said Ragan Freitag (R-Wilmington), chair of the capital improvement's committee. "If all goes to plan, Will County will have a new law enforcement facility by the end of next year. The rubber is absolutely hitting the road now for our major capital projects."
As part of the project, the Sheriff's Laraway Road campus will see new evidence storage and training buildings as well as a new administration building with space to consolidate public safety offices, such as the Coroner's Office and Emergency Management services. Currently, there is a need for a central location for these functions that are now spread throughout the county.
For a new courthouse and judicial complex, a preliminary study done by the county proposed a 400,000-square-foot facility with 42 courtrooms. Will County has 36 judges who handle 80,000 cases annually. The proposed judicial complex will house judges and numerous other departments including court clerk, state’s attorney, public defender, court administration, jury commission, court reporters, and the probation department.
"Market timing is certainly one reason for getting these projects underway sooner rather than later," said Mike Fricilone, chair of the finance committee. "We want to take advantage of the historically low interest rates and bonding costs to save taxpayers as much money as possible."