Elkhart County, Indiana (November 16, 2021) – Groundbreaking for Elkhart County’s new consolidated courts campus occurred today at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time, November 16, 2021. The new campus being built on a 32-acre site at 1905 Reliance Road is at the western edge of Goshen – immediately southwest of the intersection at U.S. 33 and Reliance Road.
Brief comments by Frank Lucchese, Elkhart County Commissioner, David Hess, Vice President of the Elkhart County Council and the Honorable David C. Bonfiglio, Elkhart County Superior Court Judge, preceded the groundbreaking.
“This major project, 30 years in the making, will improve services for every citizen of Elkhart County,” said Lucchese. “At the same time, we’re consolidating into one convenient location, and we’re further modernizing how we work on behalf of the citizens who live here. When this complex opens in 2024, I believe it will be one of the most efficient and accessible County Court systems in the country. And that’s good news for everyone who lives and works here.”
“Today’s a great day. Finally, after three decades of talk about a more efficient, conveniently located courts campus, we’re breaking ground,” added Hess. “This is a win for everyone in Elkhart County whether they live in one of our large cities, or any of our smaller towns.”
“This is good news for everyone,” added Bonfiglio. “We’re building a more efficient and accessible County Courts campus for the first time in county history. I’m personally excited about this new facility and want to thank everyone who’s been involved in getting us to this point.”
The design-build construction contract, signed in November, details a 173 thousand square foot building to be situated facing due northwest on the site. Cost to build the new campus, at just under $94 million, is in the same range as the new Elkhart County Jail Campus which was finished 14 years ago at a cost of $95 million. A target date for completion of the new consolidated courts facility has been set as June, 2024.
The design-build team was officially selected on January 19, 2021 when Elkhart County Commissioners voted unanimously to hire Performance Services out of Indianapolis to head the Design-Build Construction process. Performance Services earned the highest qualitative score and best price value out of a field of eight qualified teams under consideration at that time.
The Design-Build Construction team includes Securitecture – Architect of Record, CGL Companies – Courts Design Consultant, Jones Petrie Rafinski – Civil Engineer and Landscape Architect, Lynch, Harrison and Brumleve – Structural Engineer, Byce and Associates – Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) Design and Ancon Construction - General Trades Coordinator and Site Superintendent
Elkhart County Government is committed to keeping constituents informed as the project moves forward. A website with frequently asked questions, key facts and an evolving timeline has been created as part of the process. The address is www.SmartCourtsProject.com.
The genesis of a consolidated Elkhart County Courthouse system goes back to 1992. The project has been discussed as a necessary improvement since that time.
Beginning in January 2018 and concluding in July of 2020, more than two dozen locations were studied by Elkhart County government as potential sites for the consolidated campus. The studies included sites in downtown Goshen and downtown Elkhart.
On September 12, 2020, an initial bond agreement was approved in the amount of $35 million for the first phase in financing to purchase land, design, and build the new courthouse.
On November 14, 2020, the Elkhart County Council unanimously approved the purchase of 32 acres of vacant property at 1905 Reliance Road in Goshen as the location for the new consolidated courts campus.
On December 9/10, 2020, the TRC interviewed 8 design-build teams. On December 15, 2020, the TRC narrowed the field of design/build teams down to three. The three finalists were interviewed a second time on January 12, 2021.
On January 12, 2021, the TRC interviewed three finalists for the project and assigned 16 Qualitative Scores to each design/build team. The TRC’s Qualitative Scores were submitted to the County Commissioners on the same day, and the Commissioners approved the submission unanimously at that time.
On January 19, 2021, Elkhart County Commissioners voted unanimously to hire Indianapolis based design firm Performance Services and their partners Goshen-based Ancon Construction and South Bend-based Jones Petrie Rafinski to design and build the new Consolidated Courts project on 32 acres at 1905 Reliance Road in Goshen.
On January 26, 2021, Elkhart County Commissioners hosted the first of several visioning sessions with participants who use the current county courts system on a daily basis. The three hour session was designed to provide input on core values and objectives that will be used in the design process for the new consolidated courts system.
From February through May, 2021, visioning sessions and workshops with court and law enforcement personnel, countywide leaders, contractors and planners continued. Dozens of sessions were held to determine as many of the basic facets of the new consolidated courts campus as possible.
October 1, 2021, Elkhart County government announced it had developed strict cost-saving agreements with contractors that will help to minimize the escalating costs of raw materials for the new Consolidated Courts campus. The agreements are tied directly to the facility being built on Reliance Road between the cities of Goshen and Elkhart. The agreements effectively prohibit the project from exceeding budget.
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