JOLIET – The Will County Board voted Thursday on a $1.3 million contract with Darien-based Wight & Company that outlines preliminary design work for a new courthouse downtown.
The company’s work includes a concept plan, construction cost estimates, county population projections and tours of other courthouses.
A handful of board members initially objected to a provision that gives the county the option to pay Wight & Company $100,000 to handle public relations, but the contract was ultimately approved as presented.
At the meeting, Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow said a new courthouse is greatly needed.
“Anyone who hasn’t been in our courthouse needs to go, because you’ll see it’s not just the structure. It’s the inability to put in the security and all the other electronic advancements that’s necessary. It’s actually impossible in that building,” he said. “We’ve had the floor buckle. We’ve had the ceiling collapse and those are just minor things, really, when you look at the big picture.”
Building a new courthouse could cost between $140 million and $200 million.
The County Board also voted on an agreement to move the county’s recorder of deeds and coroner’s offices to the former Social Security Administration building downtown.
The county bought the building, 158 N. Scott St., for $850,000, last year. It is estimated the county will save $250,000 a year in lease expenses alone by shifting the recorder of deeds office there.