New Will County Public Safety Complex completed ahead of schedule

Steve Balich Editor note: This was all accomplished with a decrease in the property tax rate and no public safety tax.

New Will County Public Safety Complex completed ahead of schedule

Will County’s new Public Safety Complex is expected to be completed Monday — six weeks ahead of schedule, according to a project manager.

The $30 million center, on Laraway Road and US Route 52 in Joliet, will consolidate several sites that housed the sheriff’s department, and bring together three 911 dispatch centers into one. It also will house the administrative offices of the county’s Emergency Telephone System Board (ETSB), which oversees the county’s 911 system.

The project — the first of three building projects the county has undertaken with a $275 million bond issue — was already on the fast track to be completed by Dec. 27.

Project manager Nicole McElroy, of Leopardo Construction, recently told members of the Capital Improvements Committee that the building will be substantially completed by Monday.

The 911 staff has been installing its computer consoles for Eastern Will County Communications Center (EASCOM), the Lincoln-Way Communications Center and the Will County Sheriff’s 911 center, which will now be consolidated as the Laraway Communications Center. It is expected to be operational by the end of the year.

The sheriff’s staff will be moving in phases, said Dave Tkac, deputy chief of staff for County Executive Larry Walsh, who is overseeing the building projects.

Sheriff employees who have been temporarily housed at the county-owned former First Midwest Bank building in downtown Joliet, will move in over the next few weeks. They will be followed by the staff at the current sheriff’s office at 16909 W. Laraway Road who are to be moved by the end of this year, Tkac said.

Both the old sheriff’s office and the bank building will be demolished.

The former bank will become the site of the new 10-story county courthouse, and is expected to be torn down in early February, with construction to begin in the spring.

The committee approved a bid for the bank’s demolition to Poulos, Inc., Chicago for $557,000.

Bids for the new courthouse also were awarded to:

•Martin Cement, Romeoville, building concrete, for $8,999,800.

•Roy Zenere Trucking, Thornton, mass excavation, for $1,464,784.

•LeJune Steel, Minneapolis, MN, structural steel, for $12,560,000.

•Specialty Construction, LLC, Lombard, miscellaneous metals, for $888,000.

•Austin Tyler Construction Co, Elwood, site utilities, for $466,600.

The committee also approved a $527,000 addition to the contract for the courthouse architect, Wight and Company of Darien, to include the complete build-out of the eighth and ninth floors. Officials previously considered leaving those floors as shells to be built out in the future.

The cost of the courthouse will be about $200 million.

County officials have yet to determine what to do with the existing four-story courthouse, across the street from the new one, but it is one of three sites being considered for a new Health Department facility.

The county previously hired Kluber Architects and Engineering of Batavia, which is now evaluating three potential sites. The other two are Ella Avenue — in front of the existing Health Department building, and Chicago Street, where the county’s administration building is located.

The Capital Improvements Committee also discussed plans for a new building for its Animal Control Department, which could be located south of the county’s highway department, near Laraway and Cherry Hill Roads, adjacent to the sheriff’s department. That department, now located in New Lenox, would pay for its own building.

County officials said they need to set a timeline for construction of both the Health Department and Animal Control.

Twitter @SusanLaff

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