County leaders to address courthouse improvements next week

Phase one improvements include addition of courtrooms and offices; $54 million estimation

Kitsap County leaders will be holding a community presentation next week to address planning efforts underway for a new addition to the courthouse in Port Orchard.

The presentation will take place at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22 in the Commissioners’ Chambers of the County Administration Building at 619 Division Street. The agenda will cover the scope of the project, schedule and work completed through 2019, and an opportunity for the public to ask questions. Presenters will include representatives from Kitsap County, the City of Port Orchard and Thomas Architecture Studios.

The courthouse is located on just over a 13-acre campus and is the home to a majority of Kitsap County public safety services. Originally constructed in 1935 and with the last modernization taking place in 1978, the courthouse is in need of replacement and has shown its limitations to cost-effectively improve conditions, life and safety systems, and technology, according to a summary of the project.

Cost estimates initially ranged from $130 million to $145 million and were well beyond the county’s ability to finance with existing revenues. As a result, another option was developed with a budget directive of living within available funds, the summary stated.

Phase 1 improvements

In January 2018, the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners, after consultation with other county elected leadership, approved Resolution 017-2019, a phased approach to addressing near- and short-term needs for the courthouse. Phase one includes an addition of courtrooms and offices, along with reuse of the existing courthouse. The estimated cost for phase one is $54 million, to be funded through projected real-estate excise-tax revenues.

Phase one improvements will:

  • Improve safety and security for the public, jurors, judges, staff and in-custody defendants with separated corridors and access points.
  • Provide ADA facilities to public restrooms, courtrooms, and parking areas.
  • Enhance vehicular and pedestrian circulation.
  • Move forward critical and required building repairs to extend the life of the existing courthouse. These improvements will repair leaking roofs, replace outdated heating/cooling systems, improve security and expand technology.
  • Improve onsite parking needs for jurors, visitors and employees.