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County Manager's Office

Phone: 913-715-0725

111 S. Cherry St., Suite 3300, Olathe, KS 66061

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Courthouse Project

>> Live Stream: Courthouse Construction Site

Courthouse construction site

(Updated Sept. 1, 2020)

The new Johnson County Courthouse has reached the milestone of substantial completion. The project has been under construction for just over two years leading up to this significant date in the overall timeline.

The courthouse is being built across Santa Fe Street north of the existing courthouse and west of Olathe City Hall. The address is 150 W. Santa Fe St.

The certificate of substantial completion is dated August 21, 2020 on the 356,821 square feet, seven story courthouse building which includes 28 courtrooms, secure in-custody circulation, state of the art technology, public gathering spaces and north parking lot.

Visitors to downtown Olathe will have noticed the recent installation of landscaping, site walls, granite pavers and monument signage. The surface parking lot to the north has also been completed. 

On the interior, installation was recently completed on Benjamin Ball’s public art titled “Open Prairie,” visible from Santa Fe Street at the main building entrance. Additionally, the historic Goddess of Justice statue has been relocated to the lobby, marking the third courthouse to house her.

Work remaining within the J.E. Dunn design-build contract includes demolition of the current courthouse, the development of a county square and the new tunnel tie-in to existing Olathe Adult Detention Center. Work on the tunnel tie-in is anticipated to start in September.

Installation of systems and ancillary furniture will continue through the month of November as the project team turns their focus toward the training and relocation of staff this winter.

The new courthouse is anticipated to be open to the public for business on January 4, 2021.

The anticipated cost is $182 million ($193 with inflation costs factored in). The construction manager is JE Dunn Construction. The architects are TreanorHL & Fentress Architects.

Johnson County voters approved a 10-year, quarter-cent public safety sales tax to fund the project.

The new courthouse will address issues of concern for the community and residents, and it will:

  • Separate inmates and criminal defendants from victims, witnesses, jurors and others in courthouse corridors
  • Replace the aging, overcrowded courthouse with a more efficient building that will cost much less to maintain
  • Be accessible/Americans with Disabilities Act compliant

The courthouse will meet Johnson County's judicial needs for more than 75 years as the county expects to add 10,000 residents each year. Its design will also allow for more courtrooms later as needed.

Tours of the current courthouse are available to the public upon request by e-mailing court administration.

Courthouse Project News

Public art installed in new Johnson County Courthouse

Visitors to the new Johnson County Courthouse will be greeted with bright colors as they enter the lobby. That’s where the building’s public art display has been installed. Two workers spent a little over a week installing artist Benjamin Ball’s creation, titled “Open Prairie.” It features 5,400 individual strands of enamel-painted ball chain, similar to a key chain.

The strands hang from an aluminum metal panel attached to the ceiling, with a skylight above. During the installation the workers attached the ball chains to some 10,800 individual points.

The Johnson County Public Art Commission selected Ball from among 130 applicants to create an original work for the courthouse. Larry Meeker, the commission chairman, said the colors in the display reflect the colors that can be seen in the open prairie.

“It’s meant to speak to each person in a little different way,” Meeker said, “I think this will resonate on many levels with the people who come in and do business in this courthouse.”

Courthouse construction is nearly complete. The last stages of work are expected to wrap up this month, while court employees are expected to begin moving into the new facility in November. The grand opening is slated for January 2021.

Johnson County celebrates milestone in courthouse construction

The structure has been completed for the new Johnson County Courthouse under construction in downtown Olathe.

On Tuesday, Aug. 13, a “topping out” ceremony at the construction site raised the last steel beam 228 feet to the courthouse’s highest point in its structural framing. The time-honored tradition signals the completion of a high-rise building’s structural framing.

The event was attended by officials from Johnson County Government; city of Olathe; JE Dunn Construction, builder of the new seven-story courthouse; and other dignitaries.

“It’s hard to believe that just 13 months ago this construction site was not much more than a large hole in the ground,” Ed Eilert, chairman of the Johnson County Board of Commissioners, said. A groundbreaking ceremony at the construction site took place July 12, 2018.

In keeping with a “topping out” tradition, the final 12-foot, 240-pound beam had a small evergreen tree, known as the construction “Christmas tree,” at one end and an American flag at the opposite end. The tree signifies the safe completion of the framing of the structure, and a wish for continued good luck for the future of the building project. In addition, the event allows an opportunity to publicly thank the more than 200 construction workers for their hard work.

The milestone beam, which was painted white, featured scores of signatures, including elected leaders, county management, community leaders and other dignitaries along with the project design team and many of the construction workers.

“This ceremony is just that – a symbolic ceremony – but it’s a significant milestone in building the county’s new courthouse,” Chairman Eilert said. “It’s also very important to again thank Johnson County voters. They are the ones who approved the public safety sales tax to provide the funding for construction of this much-needed courthouse.”

Other speakers at the celebration included Olathe Mayor Michael Copeland and Ben Vanderau and Dan Kanzler representing JE Dunn Construction.

A barbecue lunch for attendees and construction workers along with short tours of the construction site ended the “topping out” event.

When it opens in early 2021, the new courthouse, with 28 courtrooms and approximately 350,000 square feet of space, is expected to address the county’s criminal justice needs for the next 75 years as Johnson County continues to grow.

“Placing the final steel beam also confirms Johnson County’s commitment to keeping this vital project on schedule and on budget,” Chairman Eilert said. “The new courthouse will not only be highly functional, accessible, safe and secure. It will become a stunning new Johnson County landmark to serve as a beacon of justice for generations to come.”

 

Johnson County Courthouse Topping Out Ceremony

New renderings available on new Johnson County Courthouse

New interior renderings and fly-through animation of the new Johnson County Courthouse are now available here.

These materials as well as a project status report were presented to the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners, sitting as the Committee of the Whole, on Thursday, Oct. 25. Brad Reinhardt, Director of Facilities Management, presented the update with representatives from project team members JE Dunn, TreanorHL and Fentress Architects. A news release that summarizes the presentation is available at this link.

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