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Johnson County Commissioners Approve Funding Of New Courthouse

Courtesy - Johnson County

Thursday's vote by the Johnson County Commission authorizes the spending of revenues from a quarter-cent sales tax voters approved last November.

The money will be used to demolish the old courthouse in downtown Olathe and replace it with a new nine story building across the street.  It will also subsidize a $20 million coroner's facility at 119th and Ridgeview for autopsies and toxicology exams.

The project is not to exceed $245 million.

Chief Counsel Don Jarrett says construction won't start until the existing courthouse is completely torn down.

"The first thing we’ll do is design it, then (bid ) it out," he says. "I don’t think we’ll have any shovel turning until 2018."

The new courthouse will be designed to accommodate the many more people living in Johnson County today than when the courthouse was built . The population of the county today — more than 566,000 — is almost 10 times what it was when the courthouse was built.

The new building will also meet required standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Thursday's approval of the project will become part of Johnson County's 2017 Capital Improvement Program.

Construction is expected to be completed in 2021.

Laura Ziegler is a community engagement reporter and producer. She can be reached at lauraz@kcur.org or on Twitter @laurazig.

I partner with communities to uncover the ignored or misrepresented stories by listening and letting communities help identify and shape a narrative. My work brings new voices, sounds, and an authentic sense of place to our coverage of the Kansas City region. My goal is to tell stories on the radio, online, on social media and through face to face conversations that enhance civic dialogue and provide solutions.
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