Lake County Courthouse Expansion, Waukegan, IL

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To meet the needs of growing justice agencies, Lake County, Illinois, has embarked on the development of a new courthouse, which will become a centerpiece for the town of Waukegan.

Working with the county and the design team, Syska Hennessy Group was retained to help realize a master plan and expansion encompassing a full campus upgrade, new Court Tower, renovated Babcox Justice Center, refurbished bridge and newly constructed tunnel.

Because this project will integrate new facilities into the existing campus, Syska began by investigating the feasibility of extending and replacing existing campus hot water, chilled water and standby emergency power services, and the MEP impact of extensive renovations to the adjacent campus buildings.

Our cost-effective and sustainable design will support the new eight-story Court Tower, consisting of 12 new courtrooms and flexible spaces for judicial offices, court administration offices and up to 6 additional courtrooms. The Babcox Justice Center renovation will allow for additional courts, intake, booking and kitchen areas.

As part of a two-year renovation, the existing enclosed bridge that connects the main courthouse to the Babcox Justice Center and used to transport prisoners securely over a major thoroughfare and a parking lot is being shortened and will eventually be connected to the new Court Tower. It will be repurposed for non-prisoner transport between the county buildings, and will be partially translucent to preserve views of Lake Michigan and downtown Waukegan.

Since this passageway must remain in use during construction, our largest challenge is maintaining prisoner transport capability as part of the master plan—whether above, on or underground. The interim solution is to utilize a multi-path underground passageway to provide safe access between the jail and the new Court Tower.

This is an important project that, when completed, will significantly upgrade an existing and vital Lake County campus. Syska’s recent work with Lake County also includes a 911 center, data center and public defender’s office.

207,000 SF

Lake County, Illinois

Owner’s Rep
Robinson Guarnery


Clark Construction Group

Sustainable design/Energy modeling
Vertical transportation
Secure environment
Solar shading
CFD modeling