Demolition Kicks Off Arkansas Courthouse Expansion

By Lisa Kopochinski

BENTONVILLE, Ark.—Demolition work has begun on the Benton County Courthouse expansion in Bentonville, with a groundbreaking ceremony slated for January.

Plans include demolishing the one-story section behind the courthouse that housed the coroner’s office. A two-story addition is planned on the site with a lobby area on the first floor. DT Specialized Services is providing demolition services.

The $3.1 million expansion will add 6,264 square feet to the downtown courthouse, which is 28,080 square feet. A new courtroom is needed for Circuit Court Judge Christine Horwart, who was elected last March and office on January 1.

Morrison-Shipley Engineers Inc. is working with Hight Jackson Associates and Judge Barry Moehring and his office preparing civil plans for demolition of the existing Juvenile Detention Facility and sallyport, that is no longer being used.

“We are also working on the site layout plans for the two-story courtroom addition, which includes a new parking lot layout extending from the new addition, east, to the front of the Benton County Administration Building,” said John Wary, PE Principal at Morrison-Shipley.

“A large landscape feature, with bench seating, will be in the middle with a sidewalk connecting both buildings. We are also preparing a Lot Line Adjustment/Lot Combination Plat, which will combine a total of 16 individual lots owned by Benton County, creating a single lot. The plat will include the vacation of two alleys, as well as utility easement, and right-of-way dedications.”

The parking lot between the county administration building and the courthouse will lose 18 spaces reserved for county vehicles during the demolition work. However, the county will use a nearby parking lot. The project will include 72 parking spaces and provide 12-foot and 8-foot sidewalks nearby.

Also included in this project are new security cameras and doors, a computer system, phones, audio/visual equipment, and moving some prosecuting attorney staff members out of the space.

The annex where Circuit Judge Brad Karren currently holds court will also be repaired. Situated across the street from the main courthouse, work on the annex includes interior paint and carpet, new exterior doors, a new roof, new heating, ventilation and air-conditioning units, a sidewalk on the west side and new canopies on three sides.

“It’s progress,” said County Judge Barry Moehring of the expansion, in a statement. “It meets the immediate needs. We have a new judge that we have to have accommodations for.”

The expansion is expected to be completed by late 2021.