Kansas Courthouse Celebrates Completion Milestone

By CN Staff

OLATHE, Kan.—The new $182 million Johnson County Courthouse, located in downtown Olathe is now substantially complete.

Designed by Fentress Architects in a partnership with TreanorHL, and constructed by JE Dunn Construction, the seven-story courthouse spans 356,831 square feet and replaces the aging, overcrowded existing courthouse.

The state-of-the-art facility includes 28 courtrooms, flexible space for six additional courtrooms and supporting functions including a Law Library, Court Administration, Court Clerk, Help Center, Court Trustee, Justice Information Management, Sheriff’s Office and other services necessary to serve all judicial and administrative needs for the Johnson County community. The Tenth Judicial District Court, District Attorney and supporting spaces are being consolidated into a distinctive civic building.

“This milestone represents a significant accomplishment in realizing Johnson County’s vision for a more efficient, community-oriented and forward-thinking courthouse,” said Brian Chaffee, FAIA, principal at Fentress Architects, in a statement.

“The courthouse’s design celebrates Johnson County’s historical roots while embodying its innovative vision with a memorable structure that will serve as a longstanding commitment to the community.”

Designed to USGBC LEED Gold with principles as delineated by the WELL Building Institute, the new courthouse is expected to serve Johnson County for the next 70-plus years. It will also accommodate the estimated growth of 10,000 residents per year and fulfill the county’s goal to reduce energy by 30 percent.

The courthouse’s façade features a limestone-clad ribbon wall above the main entry. The “Emporium of Justice” serves as the courthouse’s main lobby where visitors enter through security. There is an expansive glass curtainwall and additional features that terrazzo floors, glass handrails, acoustical plaster ceilings and custom millwork.

“The new courthouse creates a functional, accessible, safe and secure facility that will serve the long-term needs of the Johnson County community,” said Daniel Wehmueller, Johnson County project manager, in a statement. “The building’s distinct design has already become a Johnson County landmark.”

Public art for the courthouse is also on display. Funded by Johnson County’s Public Art Program, “Open Prairie,” a public art piece installed by Los Angeles-based Ball-Nogues studio, integrates seamlessly into the building’s design and creates a network of vibrant colors as visitors enter the courthouse. Additionally, Goddess of Justice has been relocated from the existing courthouse to the new facility.

In addition to the new Johnson County Courthouse, the project team also developed the north parking lot, and will also transform the existing courthouse site into a new greenspace.

Johnson County staff will begin occupying the courthouse this month, with the building intended to open to the public in early 2021.