Lenexa’s new justice center will cost $8M more with rising construction costs

new Lenexa courthouse

The Lenexa City Council on Tuesday unanimously agreed to increase the budget to build a new justice center by an additional $8 million. The $73 million public safety complex will be built at Prairie Star Parkway and Britton Street. Above, a conceptual design rendering of the project.

Lenexa’s new justice center is going to cost $8 million more than initially anticipated.

That’s according to city staff and construction and design representatives on the project, who went over the conceptual budget with the Lenexa City Council last week at Thompson Barn.

The city council on Tuesday unanimously approved a construction agreement with J.E. Dunn Construction Company based on the increased project costs.

The city council also agreed to increase the budget for the project, which will now run at an estimated $73 million.

Located on the southwest corner of Prairie Star Parkway and Britton Street, the Lenexa Justice Center will serve as a centralized public safety complex to include a new headquarters for the Lenexa Police Department and the municipal court.

City leaders last year approved plans to build a new public safety complex in a more centralized location in order to meet the needs of a growing residential population west of I-435.

The site is also home to the former limestone mines now repurposed for industrial and warehouse uses.

Why the project costs more

Todd Pelham, deputy city manager, said the increased costs in the project can be attributed to a combination of factors, including supply chain issues contributing to the skyrocketing costs of building materials over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as wage inflation.

“We’re watching what happens in the actual market, but all of the experts are saying, ‘Don’t wait, move forward,’” Pelham said. “It might level out but prices, in their opinion, are not coming back down.”

The city will decide how to pay for the increased cost to the project at a later date, but city staff have suggested the city could propose issuing an additional $5 million in debt, and pulling $3 million from reserves or additional revenues.

Next steps

The city will now release the design team to work toward creating a 122,000-square-foot complex to include several components, including municipal courts, training facilities and a 911 call center.

The city is also planning to dedicate additional physical space in the new justice center to areas that have become more important as modern policing has developed.

Some of those elements include carving out space for:

  • Community policing and victim support
  • Recruiting office and volunteer staff
  • Staff wellness
  • Mental health responders
  • Scenario training
  • Specialized vehicle storage
  • Arrestee processing
  • Property and evidence

The city plans to make room for a firing range to be added in a second phase.

Denise Rendina, the city’s spokesperson, noted that the city’s police department and municipal court services will continue to operate out of the current facility at West 87th Street Parkway and Monrovia until the new facility is complete and ready to operate.

Additionally, the city is still planning to maintain ownership of the current public safety complex and dedicate it for another public use. Plans are indefinite, but the city has suggested possibly using it for a fire station.