Besides a limited budget, building an annex for the Rock Island County Justice Center is challenging in other ways. Work on the 47,000 square foot addition began in late March, but the county held the official groundbreaking just last week.
The architect, Jake Davis from DLR Group in Chicago, specializes in public safety projects.
Along with Rock Island County officials and employees, Jake Davis put on a hard hat and dug in with a gold-painted shovel, to help kick off construction of the justice center annex. But Davis had already put in many hours of work designing the 28 million dollar building that'll help replace the courthouse.
One challenge Davis and the construction team face is geology. And the history of the site in Rock Island could be an issue -- something he calls "a spaghetti mess" of infrastructure.
The DLR Group architect says the annex will feature four new courtrooms, with suites for all the offices now in the courthouse EXCEPT the county recorder, and an area for the sheriff's department to hold suspects plus a walkway to the jail.
The single entrance facing Third Avenue will provide security screening for both the annex and justice center. Davis says $21 million of the $28 million dollar budget is for construction. The rest is for furniture, AV and IT equipment, and other items that will make the building a courthouse. Also keep in mind that while the annex is built, the courthouse, justice center, and jail must remain open and functional.