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Local News

Design of Will County Judicial Complex nearing completion

Parking area for judges yet to be decided

JOLIET – A schematic design of the new Will County Judicial Complex is on track to be completed by the end of this week.

Jason Dwyer, project manager with Darien-based firm Wight & Co., updated the Will County Board’s Capital Improvements Committee on the latest design advancements on Tuesday. He said the firm is planning to review the design at the end of the month with the committee, and then make an in-depth presentation to the committee Sept. 20.

With a budget of $195 million, the firm is designing a building with 10 floors, two of which will be made to accommodate future growth. A new development is that the design team appears to have found a way to comfortably fit five courtrooms, rather than four, on a couple of the floors. The plan was to have four courtrooms on most floors, totaling close to 40 on final buildout.

“We’re doing everything we can to maximize potential within the budget,” Dwyer said.

Much of the discussion, however, centered on secure parking for the county’s judges. Shallow bedrock at the future site of the complex, directly west of the existing courthouse on Jefferson Street in downtown Joliet, eliminated the possibility of an underground parking area for judges.

It appears the next best option is to configure some sort of parking area for judges on the Washington Street lot south of the future courthouse, Dwyer said. It could range from a fenced-in area with manned security, cameras and lighting, to an above-ground parking structure that would cost significantly more.

One potential issue is that a garage on the site is the only current storage area for plow and salt trucks that clear the courthouse parking lot during winter. The firm will present some cost estimates at a future meeting.

Will County Public Safety
Complex update

Leigh McMillen of Leopardo Companies informed the committee that 36 bids were received for work in bid package one of the Will County Public Safety Complex, which was released a few weeks ago. It is the first of three bid packages. Bid package two will be released Wednesday.

“We’ve gotten off to a great start with the bidding process,” McMillen said.

Six of the eight low bidders are based in Will County, with another based in nearby Coal City. A couple of sections of bid package one will now be rolled into bid package two because bidders did not meet certain requirements. McMillen said the bidding companies were informed of what was lacking and plan to rebid.

McMillen said the target date to start work still is Sept. 15, with a groundbreaking ceremony tentatively scheduled for Oct. 7. The safety complex, to be built on the existing sheriff’s office site near the intersection of Laraway Road and Route 52 in Joliet, is estimated to cost the county about $30 million.

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