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Des Moines, IA
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Project Manager
Contact Craig German, PE
Structural Engineer

The $35 Million Facility is Designed to Meet the Current Needs of the County, with Ample Room to Expand for Future Growth

The new Polk County Criminal Court Building was part of a multi-phase project centralizing court functions for the county. The project was a complete transformation of the former Polk County Jail to a five story courthouse designed to meet the high volume of criminal cases. Extensive demolition, structural modifications, and buildback were completed over a 120,000 sq. ft. renovation area.

The top five stories of the jail were carefully removed, along with the main shear elements of the building, leaving the concrete structure and foundation of the original lower two stories. The reconstruction consisted of reinforcing the existing foundation and structure to meet new load requirements. A new concrete core, along with other shear elements were constructed to resist lateral loads.

The buildings footprint was expanded, including the construction of two new stairway towers and an open atrium extending from the ground floor to the roof. Three new stories consisting of steel framing and concrete decks were constructed on the reinforced first and second stories. Sage glass, stone, and metal panels were used extensively for much of the finish work. The final product resulted in a modern, safe, and energy efficient building.

The new courthouse layout greatly improves safety for visitors and employees alike. The unique and creative design elements incorporated into the construction allowed for open courtrooms, cantilevered balconies, a third floor outdoor patio, and a full-height atrium enclosed in glass.