Johnson County taps JE Dunn to build new $193 million courthouse

A 2015 rendering of the courthouse plan.
A 2015 rendering of the courthouse plan.

The Johnson County Commission on Thursday formally selected JE Dunn Construction to manage construction of the new $193 million courthouse approved by voters last November.

TreanorHLF out of Lawrence and Fentress Architects out of Denver will lead the design process.

County leaders pushed for the project over concerns that the current facilities, which are more than 70 years old, are not sufficient to handle the caseload for a county with nearly 600,000 resident. What’s more, many courtrooms in the current facilities have no way to separate plaintiffs and defendants before a hearing begins, creating safety concerns for some participants.

The 1/4 cent sales tax increase approved by county voters last year will provide the nearly $200 million needed for construction of the new building, but will also yield some revenue for Johnson County municipalities.

The new facility will be approximately 320,000 square feet and have 28 courtrooms. A secure tunnel will connect the county’s central booking facility and detention center to the courtroom underground.

The county expects to break ground on the project in summer 2018 with operations in the new courthouse expected to begin in 2021.