Pandemic Delays Debut of New Missouri Courthouse

By Lisa Kopochinski

JACKSON, Mo.—Due to the coronavirus pandemic Cape Girardeau County’s new courthouse did not open on it scheduled date of April 1.

According to an article in the Southeast Missourian, the arrival and installation of some furnishings fort the $20 million courthouse on North High Street in Jackson have been delayed.

Many of the building’s furnishings and fixtures are being built and installed by Missouri Vocational Enterprises, a division of Offender Rehabilitative Services within the Missouri Department of Corrections in Jefferson City. DOC suspended MVE’s operations as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Second District Commissioner Charlie Herbst reported at a County Commission meeting that MVE has completed about 80 percent of its work, will not return until April 6 at the earliest to finish installing the courthouse’s office cubicles.

County crews are continuing to install telephones and communications equipment as well as furniture MVE delivered before suspending its work.

Herbst said that Penzel Construction, the project’s general contractor, will be “substantially” finished with its work soon.

“But I would surmise there will be a delay (in opening) considering the current events.”

At the present time, there are no plans for a public open house. However, Herbst added, “I would suggest that at some point later in the year there will be a public celebration of some kind.”

The 82,000-square-foot courthouse and underground parking facility will include six new courtrooms and will be constructed on the corner of N. Missouri Street and W. Washington Street, adjacent to the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff’s Office and Justice Center.