By Lisa Kopochinski
TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind.—Bidding for construction on the Tippecanoe County Courthouse courtrooms and additions is set to begin soon.
“This will be the new Superior Court 7,” said County Commissioner Tom Murtaugh in a statement in late September to television news station WLFI. “But right now, Superior Court 7 is the auxiliary courtroom.”
Once bidding is complete, renovations are slated to begin in January. The project—currently with an unconfirmed dollar figure—will include building a new juvenile courtroom, a new jury room on the fourth floor and space for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate).
When completed by January 2021, the second juvenile courtroom will match the aesthetic of the other one located adjacent to it. With that addition, the Tippecanoe County Courthouse will have a total of 10 courts.
Located on the public square in the city of Lafayette, the site is located between the north-south 3rd and 4th Streets, and between the east-west Main and Columbia Streets.
Murtaugh said the county commissioners approved this project largely because it is needed for the community.
“It is a part of public safety. We, as a county, are tasked in providing these services.”
The Tippecanoe County Courthouse has an interesting history. Built in the 1880s, it is on the National Register of Historic Places. At the time it was built, residents had indicated they wanted a building that would show the pride they had in their county and filled 45 pages with instructions on how their wishes should be carried out.
Also, it was 21 years ago in August that someone drove a truck through the courthouse with the intention of blowing it up. While they were not successful in their endeavor, there was significant damage to the eastern side of the courthouse.
No one was injured in the incident. Then Sheriff Dave Murtaugh said the truck contained 55-gallon drums of what appeared to be gasoline and another unknown substance. The person responsible for this incident was never apprehended.