Updated courthouse concepts designed to address concerns with height, integration into downtown Olathe

Johnson County officials gave an overview of the updated courthouse plans at a public session at the Arts & Heritage Center in Overland Park this month.

Johnson County officials in recent weeks have hosted two public meetings giving residents a look at the latest design concept for the new $200 million courthouse to be constructed in downtown Olathe — a concept that differs significantly from the initial plans floated prior to the 2016 vote on a tax to fund the facility.

After a series of public engagement sessions in 2016, the county began working with its design-build team to address the most frequently aired concerns about the initial plan. Among them were:

  • At nine stories, the building was out of place in downtown Olathe
  • The building design was not cohesive with the surrounding area, and there was not a good connection with the downtown neighborhood
  • Parking was not sufficient, and many people would have to cross busy Santa Fe Drive to reach the courthouse.

To address those concerns, the team reconfigured the plan to:

  • Reduce the building to six stories
  • Add parking adjacent to the courthouse in a lot to the north of the building
  • Collaborate with the city of Olathe on amenities around the building to better connect it to the neighborhood, including a proposed “promenade” along Cherry Street with outdoor eating areas.

Here’s a look at one of the early renderings of the courthouse:

And here are a couple renderings of the updated concept:

The county will present an overview of the facilities master plan to the board of county commissioners Feb. 22, and then an overview of the schematic design to the board March 15. The county is tentatively scheduled to submit a preliminary development plan to the city of Olathe in late March.