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Waukesha county courthouse addition helps ensure justice is available to all

Gilbane provided preconstruction and construction management services for a 62,000-square-foot, four-story addition to the existing county courthouse in Waukesha. The project included designs, budget preparation, the demolition of the original 52,000-square-foot jail and intake court building and the construction of a new court holding area and eight new courtrooms.

There are now six standard courtrooms, one large courtroom, and an intake courtroom with an attached bond room. The standard and large-capacity courtrooms have their own victim and witness rooms, an inmate holding cell and a conference room. The design achieved “three-way separation,” among inmates, court staff and visitors as recommended by the National Center for the Courts.

According to Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow, the project was completed more than $3 million under budget. Laura Hause of Gilbane credited careful planning and monitoring for that achievement. “The process when contractors would submit changes was to be carefully looking through the new documents to ensure it wasn’t something that they might already owe. We avoid change orders through preplanning.”

Being closed in on three sides by the existing courthouse, jail, and law-enforcement center presented its own difficult, especially since access was limited to a single point of entry. Hause noted that constant coordination was required to avoid disruptions of the building’s ongoing operations and ensure construction was sequenced to allow for safe comings and goings. Gilbane, for instance, made sure court and jail staff would accept the use of temporary partitions as a means of providing connections to secure areas.

The project also brought in modern audio and visual equipment to improve communications within and among the courtrooms, jury-deliberation rooms, victim-witness rooms, media rooms and judicial chambers.

It increased security, repaired infrastructure and improved access to Waukesha County Circuit Court services. And all of that was done well under the project’s budget.

Waukesha County Courthouse Addition

Location: Waukesha

Cost: $38.5 million

Start: December 2018

Completion: June 2021

Owner/Developer: Waukesha County

Architect: Zimmerman Architectural Studios

Engineers: Harwood Engineering Consultants, KMT Design, Professional Audio Designs

Construction Manager: Gilbane Building Compan

Submitting Company: Gilbane Building Company

Subcontractors: AdGators, Affordable Office Interiors of Madison, Austad, Building Services, CD Smith Construction, Century Fence, CG Schmidt, Common Links Construction, Complete Office of WI, Conference Technologies, Dirty Ducts Cleaning & Environmental, Foundation Service, Geis Building Products, Halverson Flooring, Henricksen & Co., Hetzel Tile and Marble, Hooper, LaForce, Langer Roofing & Sheet Metal, M&M Office Interiors, Midwest Stairs & Iron, Omni Glass and Paint, Otis Elevator, RTM & Associates, Spancrete, Staff Electric, Stronghold Industries, Sure-Fire, Thomas A Mason, United States Alliance Fire Protection, Veit, Villani Landshapers, Waste Management, W.J. Higgins & Associates

Photo Credit: Chris Utley, Gilbane Building Company; Laura Hause, Gilbane Building Company; Ty Hietpas, Gilbane Building Co.

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