The new Will County Courthouse is on track to meet its September 21, 2020 deadline. WJOL had a tour of the building with Will County Chief Judge Richard Schoenstedt. Construction crews have gone over 500 days with no lost time due to accidents. The building will be 10-stories but stands higher than other 10-story buildings in downtown Joliet. Each floor in courthouses must to 17 feet from floor to ceiling. An average building has 9-10 foot ceilings. So the courthouse will stand 175 feet. It is ADA accessible. Floors 6-8 are all identical, each has 5 courtrooms. Floor 9 will be finished but closed off until such time as courtrooms are needed. There will be 38 courtrooms in all. Below is a video of the grand jury room.
Video of Public area of Will County Courthouse
Architects love natural light but they had to compromise for safety reasons. Each courtroom will be windowless but natural light will come from a transition window near the ceiling.
The front entrance of the building with escalators leading to the 2nd floor.
The entire building is sound proofed.
Prisoners will no longer be brought through the halls of the courthouse where the public is but up through a back elevator that leads into the courtroom.
Also, judges, the public, lawyers, defendants and jury will all come in from a different door and meet for the first time in the courtroom.
Wight & Company’s vision for the new courthouse earned them an award last year. The design for the Will County Courthouse is one of 15 recipients nationally of the 2018 Justice Facilities Review (JFR) awards program, and one of only four to receive a Citation, the highest honor. The annual JFR program recognizes “the best in justice facility design,” depicting “the latest trends in the design and construction of justice facilities in the United States.”
Also the building is LEED certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) earning a gold standard for having a garden roof on 5th floor where the cafeteria is plus a system to catch rainwater and other environmental designs.