Redwood County breaks ground for new justice center project

Christopher Schmitz

A Redwood County project that has been years in discussion and planning is now moving forward with cut trees and turned dirt. The Redwood Courthouse Building is looking more exposed with the surrounding trees cut to the turf and the grounds being prepared for a major project—the new justice center which will house the County Attorney and Court system. 

When the Redwood County Board of Commissioners originally began discussing the project many years ago, the projected costs were barely more than half its current estimated $10 million cost.

The new building project finally broke ground in earnest during a ceremony to commemorate the event at noon Wednesday, March 31. Contegrity Group, Inc., the project management firm hired by the county, brought their golden shovels and hosted a number of officials from the region including Senator Gary Dahms, current and former commissioners, Contegrity staff, Wold Architects and Engineers (who designed the project) and other county and court officials.

On behalf of Contegrity, project manager Jim Theurer said, “I love these old buildings. My own house is from the early 1900s, but sometimes it makes sense to go with a new build. A lot of old buildings have issues such as asbestos and other code concerns that make it easier and cheaper to build new rather than to repair the existing ones. And even if it costs a little more, you know that everything will be up to code.”

Building the new facility will take about a year and a half to complete, Theurer said. The new  justice center will occupy space on the existing courthouse’s block—where those trees have been cut down. It will be a two-story structure with a third full level in the basement. An underground tunnel will connect the justice center to the police department to make transporting people from the jail to court easier.

The existing courthouse will remain until bids for its demolition come in, further down the timeline. Where the current building sits will become parking for the new justice center after the structure is gone.