LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW)-- Monroe County has wrestled with the issue for two decades, but a resolution may finally be at hand.
The roughly $28 million courthouse and jail facility was approved back in November, but now the board has to approve the design. The County Board has approved the first of three phases in the planning process Thursday night.
"That part of the design takes the concepts, meets with every department in the county that's gonna be in that facility, discuss the staffing, discuss the work load, office layout, arrangement and interface and adjacency with the other departments they interface with," said Kurt Marshaus of Marshaus Engineering.
The project includes a new courthouse, sheriff's department and jail. But orchestrating the design and construction of the justice complex, requires the cooperation of more than just the county board.
"It's difficult to coordinate because you have different entities involved," Marshaus said. "You have the department of corrections who has to sign off on this and they have a jail inspector."
The courts also have a representative involved in the planning and because the facility will be located in the city of Sparta, they also have a hand in the project.
"We've worked very closely with them on utilities, fire, and we're closing main street," Marshaus said.
And now that phase one has the go-ahead, it's on to phase two.
"What happens now is the architects will star the design development drawings, which will take them until September to finish," Marshaus said. "And then following those reviews of all of the departments again, they will then prepare all the construction documents, which will be finished in December."
If all goes according plan, actual construction could start in March of 2014.
The current jail will be torn down but the courthouse, which was built in 1896, will be converted to office space for county departments.
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