After an original master plan in the 1980s, Dakota County implemented an initial addition to accommodate a courts complex that tripled in size and a new law enforcement center and county jail, creating a cohesive judicial complex. After 30 years of use, the county took on major renovations to their facility that focus on providing updated office spaces, a secure juvenile courts suite informed by knowledge in specialized court spaces, and an in-custody courtroom designed for efficiency. The in-custody courtroom features a substantial holding suite where public defenders can interview and meet with detainees and expedite the high-volume court process. By reducing the size of a courtroom that was previously too large to hold court efficiently, the design accommodates practical, everyday use and incorporates two additional judicial chambers. Finally, an EOC within the facility also functions as a response location for nuclear disasters.
The renovations keep judicial image in mind, blending the existing government center’s modern design with elegant wood paneling and detailing to reflect the function of the facility. The implementation of the project maintained a complex phasing schedule that ran smoothly to minimize disruption to courts functions.