County Breaks Ground on New Courthouse
Modern design will add space, increased security
“This new courthouse will place us squarely in the forefront of public safety and justice administration in Illinois. Enhancing public safety for residents is of utmost importance to this board," said Board Speaker Jim Moustis (R-Frankfort). "The existing space had become too small, inefficient and costly to operate. The new courthouse will create a safer and more efficient building for our workers, for jurors and for the visiting public. It will also provide enough space as the county continues to grow."
The new courthouse will be built on the former First Midwest Bank site, on the southwest corner of Ottawa and Jefferson streets in downtown Joliet. Demolition of the First Midwest Bank building is expected to be complete in early 2018. The county purchased that property in 2014.
The Board enlisted architecture firm Wight & Co. to design the building. The new 365,000 sq. ft. structure will be 10 stories and hold 38 courtrooms. The current courthouse is four stories and has only 23 courtrooms.
"Wight & Co. provided the board with a number of design and construction options so we could create the best facility for our residents within our budget," said Ray Tuminello (R-New Lenox), Chair of the Capital Improvements Committee. "In addition to the courtrooms, the courthouse will house offices for the state's attorney, the circuit clerk, and more."
As they enter the building, jurors will be greeted by a two- story lobby filled with natural light from large windows. The first floor will also have a larger jury commission room to accommodate residents called to perform their civic duty. Lower level floors will contain offices and courtrooms for high-volume courts, such as criminal misdemeanor, civil small claims, and adult probation courts. The fourth and fifth floor will hold criminal felony courts, the public defender's office, and a small cafe. Floors six and seven include high-volume family courts, the eighth and ninth floors include additional courts, and the tenth floor will hold a grand jury.
The path towards the new courthouse has been a long one. In August 2013 the Will County Board first approved a comprehensive plan for major capital improvement projects throughout the county. This plan included the construction of the new courthouse following the new Public Safety Complex, which was completed this month.
"This new courthouse is part of the county's largest capital campaign in our history," said Will County Executive Larry Walsh. "We just opened the new Public Safety Complex and are beginning plans to improve other critical Will County facilities, such as the Health Department and Animal Control."
The new courthouse is expected to be completed in late 2020 at a total cost of $215 million.