Will County hires firm to help with new courthouse planning
By Susan DeMar Lafferty email@example.com June 20, 2014 7:56PM
Updated: July 23, 2014 6:42AM
Will County officials took the first step toward a new courthouse by bringing on board the Darien-based Wight and Company to begin assessing needs, space and cost for $1.2 million.
In addition to housing the circuit court and judges, the new judicial complex could include the circuit court clerk, law library, state’s attorney, public defender, court administration, jury rooms, probation, sheriff’s court security and court reporters.
Based on population projections and meetings with staff, Wight will determine staff needs and space, coordination with various agencies, cost estimates and a budget, trends in court planning, security and technology guidelines, a conceptual design, and future uses for the existing courthouse.
County officials plan to tour other courthouses with Wight.
Board members also discussed efforts to minimize the architect’s travel expenses and the need for a possible $100,000 for education and public relations — explaining the new courthouse to the public. A motion to take that service out of the contract was voted down 22 to 3.
“We do not need to take this plan apart. This is just a piece of the plan,” said county board member Denise Winfrey, D-Joliet, chairman of the capital improvement committee. This fee was included in case they need it and most fees will come back to the county board for approval, she said.
While the First Midwest Bank site, across the street from the existing courthouse, is the preferred site, Wight also will assess vacant sites in other locations.
The county has a contract to purchase the bank, and approved a $20,550 contract with Weaver Boos Consultants of Chicago to do an environmental assessment of the site before closing on it.
Since a new courthouse is a long-term project, Wight also will design space at the bank building to allow the sheriff’s department to move there temporarily.
The board added $33,000 to an existing contract with Cordogan Clark Professional Services, to design space at the former Social Security building at 158 N. Scott Street for the county’s recorder of deeds and coroner’s offices. The county also acquired that building to eliminate the need for rented space.
CCA’s initial $90,000 contract was to design that space for the land use department, but county officials changed their plans.