In 2010, OPN worked with Polk County to determine the viability of pursuing renovations to the Polk County Courts system, which resulted in a multi-phase Fifth Judicial District Master Plan, including the Justice Center, Criminal Courts, and Historic Courthouse. Exterior restoration of the Historic Courthouse was completed in 2015. Interior restoration and renovation will begin in 2018.
Construction on the Polk County Justice Center, a renovation of a former department store in the heart of downtown Des Moines, will be complete in June. The new Justice Center will house the County Attorney’s offices, juvenile court services, and 15 courtrooms with secure circulation, as well as two modest retail opportunities on the first floor, creating a sidewalk presence along the historic Walnut Street.
OPN also conducted studies to assess space needs and departmental adjacency for public access and public accommodations for Criminal Courts, and to understand how phasing, demolition, systems, and schedule would be affected. The plan addressed the needs for 13 courtrooms with secure access and separate circulation for public, judges, and detainees; jury deliberation rooms, offices, and conference rooms; judicial chambers and related court support spaces; and accommodation of the existing Polk County Sheriff functions, including detainee holding, staging, transportation, control, and offender identification. Construction is set to begin June 2016.