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Johnson County hosting public courthouse tours July through November

Public tours of the Johnson County Courthouse in downtown Olathe will get underway on Monday, July 11, and continue each month into early November.

The tours and informational presentations are being planned for the following reasons:

  • to provide opportunities for the public to learn more about the existing courthouse, with a growing list of safety and security concerns and structural issues;
  • the proposed construction of a new courthouse and coroner facility; and
  • a quarter-cent, 10-year public safety sales tax question on the November 8th general election ballot to fund both projects.

Representatives from Johnson County District Court and the Facilities Management Department will lead the tours and presentations. Representatives from the District Attorney’s Office, Board of County Commissioners, County Managers Office, and Facilities Management Department will be available to answer questions from the public.

Participants will have the opportunity to learn about the problems that would be solved with a new courthouse, see for themselves some of the issues/concerns of the existing courthouse, receive information, ask questions, and provide input.        

Tour times will be: 5:00 p.m., 6:30 p.m. on the following dates: 

  • Monday, July 11
  • Tuesday, July 26
  • Monday, August 15
  • Tuesday, August 23
  • Tuesday, September 27
  • Monday, October 3  
  • Tuesday, October 18
  • Tuesday, November 1

Participants are asked to RSVP at (913) 715-3300.*

The courthouse, which opened in 1952, has security and safety issues related to inmates being in close proximity to victims, families and jurors and the public; accessibility/ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) incompliance; serious infrastructure problems; overcrowded courtrooms and outdated technology.

More than 400,000 people visit the Johnson County Courthouse every year.

If the public safety sales tax is approved by Johnson County voters in November, a new 28-courtroom courthouse will be constructed north of the existing courthouse on Santa Fe and Cherry Street, and a new coroner facility will be built near the county’s Criminalistics Laboratory at 119th Street and Ridgeview Road in Olathe.

The new courthouse will cost approximately $182 million to construct and equip with completion of the project in four years. The project is expected to serve Johnson County's judicial needs for the next 75 years.

Johnson County does not have its own coroner facility. The cost to build and equip the coroner’s facility is approximately $19 million. All autopsies for the county currently are done at a private facility in Kansas City, Kansas which the county pays to use.

Total cost for both projects is approximately $201 million.

The estimated cost to renovate the existing courthouse, construct a four-story addition to ease overcrowding and address future court needs, and resolve security/safety/ADA/technology issues is approximately $216 million over 13 years.

The cost to renovate and expand the existing courthouse is $34 million more than building a new courthouse for $182 million and more than three times longer for project completion which more than doubles the interest costs for the project. It does not include funding for a coroner facility.

More information about the tours/presentations at the existing courthouse, the new courthouse and coroner facility, and the proposed public safety sales tax is available at www.jocopublicsafety.org.

Access to the courthouse for tours/presentations:

*If special accommodations are required to attend a tour/presentation, please call (913) 715-0725 at least 48 hours in advance.

Tour participants are asked to use the south entrance to the courthouse located at 100 North Kansas Avenue prior to 5:30 p.m. Please use the east entrance on Cherry Street after 5:30 p.m. Parking is available on streets in downtown Olathe and at a parking garage located at the corner of Cherry and Loula streets.

Some items are prohibited in the courthouse and may not be brought through security: pocket knives, multi-tools, scissors, pepper spray, aerosols, as well as other prohibited items such as guns, etc.

About Johnson County, Kansas

Located in the southwestern quadrant of the Kansas City Metropolitan Region, Johnson County, Kansas is a community of choice with a current population of more than 575,000, making it the most populated of the 105 counties in Kansas, but traditionally having the lowest mill levy in the state. For more information visit the county’s website at www.jocogov.org.