New courthouse to be built in Johnson County in lieu of repairing current building

A schematic rendering of the new courthouse. (Johnson County Government)

The Johnson County Courthouse is more than six decades old and is desperately in need of repair, but the district attorney said the cost of fixing it would be astronomical.

So, they are building a new courthouse instead.

“It’s been a long time coming. The current courthouse was built in the 1950’s.”

It’s a $193 million project that will take two years to complete.

Voters in Johnson County approved a 10-year, quarter-cent public safety sales tax to finance and build the new courthouse.

Initial renderings include at least five floors of courtrooms, new security features, and a full floor for the District Attorney’s Office.

A team of developers met with stakeholders and members of the community since 2016. The county says they intend to break ground in July.

“So, it will be a very effective and functional instrument of justice that will serve the community decades to come,” said Brad Reinhardt, Johnson County Director of Facilities.

As the project moved forward, there was controversy about tearing down an Osage orange tree thought to be 150 years old. Developers told the county it will not be torn down in their plans.

This is just the first phase of many.

The new courthouse is expected to open in 2020.

The current courthouse will then be torn down and the green space will be developed into a courtyard area.

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