Kansas Welcomes Sprawling New Courthouse

By CN Staff

OLATHE, Kan.—Global design firm Fentress Architects and its partners—TreanorHL and JE Dunn Construction—recently unveiled an inside look at the new $193 Million Johnson County Courthouse in Olathe. The building incorporates 28 new courtrooms, flexible space for six to eight additional courtrooms, and supporting functions including a Law Library, Court Administration, District Attorney, Court Clerk, Help Center, Court Trustee, Justice Information Management, Sheriff’s Office and other services necessary to serve all judicial needs for the Johnson County community.

Designed by Fentress in collaboration with TreanorHL, the new courthouse blends modern, innovative architectural features with traditional elements to create a truly 21st-century and sustainable facility that will serve the community’s needs for the next 75 years, accommodate the expected growth of 10,000 residents per year, and fulfill the County’s goal to reduce energy by 30 percent. Aesthetic highlights such as a limestone-clad screen wall serves as a major design detail and defines the main entrance while paying homage to the materials and forms found in Kansas geology and history. Inside the courthouse, the “Emporium of Justice” is the facility’s main entrance and lobby where visitors pass through security.

The courthouse’s design features numerous sustainable details to reduce energy consumption. Designed to USGBC LEED Gold and WELL Building Institute principles, environmentally friendly elements include generous daylighting, water-efficient plumbing fixtures, reduction of heat island effect through thoughtful selection of roof membranes and exterior materials, energy efficient systems, durable and long-lasting materials, low-emitting materials, and flexible design for future adaptation.

“Security, flexibility, and efficiency were key elements of our design,” said Fentress Principal Brian Chaffee, FAIA. “Our goal was to create a place where citizens could feel welcomed and the legal community, judicial officers, and court staff could find a space adaptable to their changing needs and the future growth of Johnson County.”

Fentress Architects was founded by Curtis Fentress in 1980 and has designed $43 billion of architectural projects worldwide.

For additional details and images of this prominent project just check out the Nov/Dec issue of Correctional News, where the venue was featured as our Facility of the Month, at our archives page.