Lake County Courthouse Expansion, Waukegan, IL

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In 2012, the Lake County Board approved the Lake County Courthouse Expansion project to increase the efficiency of the justice system and support the future growth of the justice agencies through the next decade and beyond. The 200,000-sf high rise court tower houses 12 new courtrooms, jury assembly space, various administrative services, and room to build six future courtrooms. Construction began in May of 2015 with a new tunnel located underneath the court tower to connect the jail and the existing courthouse providing secure and efficient in-custody transfers during construction of the courts tower above. The existing in-custody transfer bridge was renovated with a translucent façade on both sides to preserve views of Lake Michigan and downtown Waukegan.

Lake County charged the engineering team with identifying existing campus utilities to support the court tower. Through analysis of the existing courthouse and administration building’s hot water plant historical data, the team concluded that this plant had additional capacity to serve the new courts tower, tunnel, and bridge in its entirety resulting in significant cost savings for the County. The court tower chiller plant was provisioned for an additional chiller which will eventually replace the adjacent Babcox Justice Center’s chiller and support its cooling requirements.

The courthouse building, and its systems offer a prime example of the resource efficiency that can result from careful integration of architecture and building engineering systems. This court tower replaces a court building last renovated in the 1960s. The courtrooms, in the new tower, are now aligned with the State of Illinois’ administrative requirements in terms of lighting and acoustics. They also provide the County the extra courtrooms needed to provide an expedient justice system. The building capitalized on the use of daylight for the public spaces, courtrooms, judge’s chambers, and administrative support spaces. The daylighting areas throughout the space are supplemented by an all-LED system with integrated lighting controls.
There were four primary objectives for the new court tower: increase court capacity, provide a safe and secure facility, project cost to align with the County budget, and a functional space for the residents and staff utilizing the facility. The project embraced sustainable features such as energy efficient lighting design and daylighting control.

200,000 SF

Lake County, Illinois

Bane Gaiser / AECOM

Clark Construction Group

Plumbing/Fire Protection
Sustainable Design
Architectural Lighting Design