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Designs Revealed for Proposed Lee County Courthouse

The Lee County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday received its first look at the conceptual design for a single county courthouse. Residents are being asked to decide if the county should borrow nearly $9 million to build it.

John Hansen with Midwest Construction Consultants (Houghton) presented the black & white line drawing, which was developed by Edd Soenke with The Design Partnership in West Des Moines. More detailed, color renderings will be available for public viewing during the county's three informational meetings.

Hansen said the first floor will feature county services while the second floor will be devoted to the judicial branch. He said the basement will provide space for storage and technology, though it could be expanded in the future.

The courthouse would be built on county-owned land near the Lee County Jail.

Hansen said the design is conceptual, which means this is how the building could end up looking. He said the final, official design would take about six months to complete, with additional input from department heads, elected leaders, staff, and the judicial branch.

Ever since supervisors agreed to put the bond referendum on the ballot, many questions have surfaced about whether the new courthouse could handle the District and Magistrate courts for North and South Lee Counties. The design shows the 2nd floor will include: 

  • 4 courtrooms
  • 2 jury rooms
  • 5 judges chambers
  • 4 judges changing rooms
  • 4 court reporters offices
  • 4 attorney meeting rooms
  • Separate entrance, parking, elevator
  • Law library
  • Space for County Attorney and staff
  • Clerk of Courts Office

Not every department would be housed in the new courthouse. 
Hansen said the County Engineer would remain in the North Lee County Office building in downtown Fort Madison, sharing the building with the Lee County Health Department. The county would also continue to provide services for the Iowa Department of Human Services in the building in downtown Fort Madison.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.