Law enforcement officials throughout the country will be front and center in 2021 as large projects are launched.

City officials and county commissioners, in an effort to provide better citizen services, including public safety, are announcing project plans for every type. Opportunities will be abundant for companies providing architectural, renovation, and construction services.  Specialized subcontracting firms will benefit from the increase in procurements as well.

Additionally, there will be high demand for companies that provide engineering, technology, security, landscaping, and all types of equipment. Many developers will find opportunities to engage with public officials as courthouses and law enforcement agencies are moved on to campuses designed for retail and various types of private sector amenities.

The following opportunities are typical of what may be found in almost any state. Most are ‘at the ready’ for launch, so interested contractors are advised to get involved soon.

 
Pennsylvania
Montgomery County officials have announced the start of a major project early in 2021. A new $430 million modern Montco Justice Center is planned. The project will more than double the size of the existing county courthouse as well as completely renovate the current facility. Because of the size and complexity of the project, construction will be phased over five years and multiple construction packages are planned.

 
Indiana
Dubois County Commissioners in December 2020 voted to include a judicial center in the architectural plans being developed for a new $42 million justice campus. Commissioners made the decision to include the judicial center in the design phase to allow them the option of either including it in the overall project or issue a solicitation for it in early 2021. Initially, the project was planned to include two courts, the clerk’s office, probation, prosecuting attorney’s office, and office space. The project also includes improvements to the Dubois County Security Center, a new jail pod, and expansion and improvements to the Dubois County Community Corrections Center.

 
Washington
Plans are anticipated by March 2021 for the Auburn Justice Center which will include the Auburn Police Department and King County District Court. The current facility is too small and is in need of significant renovation. Draft recommendations, alternatives, and cost estimates were presented in December 2020. Construction of an evidence facility also is under consideration. Short term options are being evaluated, but long-term plans include construction of a police headquarters facility at an estimated cost of $65 million.

 
Montana
Gallatin County commissioners have purchased a former indoor shooting range for $5.4 million and have plans to relocate sheriff’s office operations in the facility. Commissioners want to spend an additional $400,000 to renovate the facility by adding computer equipment and converting retail space to offices. Four of the seven sheriff’s divisions will move into the building. A portion of the undeveloped land on the property will be used for a helipad and a new building for Gallatin County Search and Rescue and expansion of other county services.

 
Kansas
The Spring Hill City Council voted in October to proceed with a conceptual design for a justice center to house the police department and a municipal court. The design work will provide information which will be used for a referendum on whether voters support spending tax dollars to construct the justice center. The proposed facility will include a 75-seat courtroom as well as an emergency operations center, gym, equipment rooms, office space, and restrooms.

 
Nebraska
Voters in Adams County approved a bond issue not to exceed $38 million which supported the construction of a justice center, a 168-bed jail, courtrooms, and offices for attorneys. The designated location for the facility is an 11-acre property that allows room for expansion in the future. Solicitations will be published soon for contractors. When the new jail is complete, the third floor of the current courthouse will be closed and used for storage.

 
Texas
Fannin County is in the process of selecting an architect to perform a study on financing options for a justice center. The architectural plans will include a master plan reflecting design and construction of a new justice center. The schedule is to have a definitive cost by mid-April so commissioners may publish a Notice of Intent to issue a Certificate of Obligation, sell bonds and explain to voters exactly what the impact would be on the budget, which is rather negligible.

 
New York
Based on its Capital Budget, the county of Suffolk plans to construct a one-story addition to the Cohalan Court Complex. The new addition will be become a Family Justice Center which consolidates support services and legal agencies related to family violence cases. The space also will have room for various partnering agencies including the district attorney’s office, the police department, the department of social services, the probation department, the sheriff’s office, and advocates of the county’s victims’ services organizations. Construction of the Family Justice Center is estimated at approximately $3.3 million.

 
Colorado
Lake County commissioners plan to identify and acquire a site for a new justice center early in 2021. Discussions are underway to conduct a facilities needs assessment that consists of a jail and courthouse, to develop a site-specific schematic design and massing study, and to develop an initial “backfill” plan for the existing courthouse.

Public safety projects and elections to fund them have historically fared well among voters. Such projects will continue to be top of mind this year, and improvements to law enforcement and judicial facilities will support these agencies’ efforts to maintain and improve their services for years to come.


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Mary Scott Nabers

As President and CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc., Mary Scott Nabers has decades of experience working in the public-private sector. A well-recognized expert in the P3 and government contracting fields, she is often asked to share her industry insights with top publications and through professional speaking engagements.