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Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - Look for two significant construction projects to begin soon at the Olmsted County Government Center.

One will be more visible to the public than the other.

The County Board Tuesday approved several bids for the projects. Each has a cost of around $4-million.

One of the projects involves a major upgrade of the area known as the Justice Center, located on the 4th and 5th floors.

Olmsted County Courtroom
Olmsted County Courtroom/photo by Kim David/Townsquare Media
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The 4th floor is being reworked to provide renovated space for Dodge-Fillmore-Olmsted Community Corrections and the relocation of the court administration office. The 5th floor work will include the addition of another courtroom. The work is expected to be completed by the spring of 2023.

The other project involves the construction of a heating and cooling system for the building and the annex on the south side of 4th St.

Kim David/TSM
Kim David/TSM
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The project is needed due to the county’s decision to shut down the steam system that it has been using for nearly 30 years. This project is expected to be completed late this year or in early 2023.

Here is a Q&A on the two projects:

1) What are the details of the Justice Center remodel and Government Center and Annex Steam Replacement projects and what are the construction schedules?

Justice Center remodel

Olmsted County has a long-term strategy to enhance and renovate specific county government facilities to accommodate our community’s growing justice space needs. The current phase of work that the Olmsted County Board of Commissioners just awarded bids for is specifically for work on the 4th and 5th floors of the Government Center. The 4th floor will be completely renovated to provide space for Dodge-Fillmore-Olmsted (DFO) Community Corrections and Courts Administration. The work on the 5th floor will focus on construction of an additional courtroom to accommodate felony trials with associated support spaces, like jury assembly and jury deliberation rooms. This project is scheduled to start on February 14, 2022, and we are expecting final completion in spring 2023.

Steam Replacement project

The City of Rochester and Olmsted County currently have a shared system for heating and cooling public buildings in downtown Rochester and at the county’s campus location, including other partners near that location. In 2019, it was determined that the system serving the buildings downtown was at end of life and the estimated cost to fix the system sufficiently to continue operations was financially prohibitive. The county decided to decommission the steam lines by October 2023 due to maintenance concerns. The solution selected by the county calls for decommissioning the 4th Street lines and installing new heating and cooling equipment in the buildings that are currently served by the 4th Street steam lines. The work that was just awarded by the Olmsted County Board of Commissioners includes installation of a new heating plant in the Annex/Work Release building to heat both that building and the Olmsted County Government Center. On the cooling side, a new chiller plant will be installed in the Olmsted County Government Center to cool both that building and the Annex/Work Release building. Both of these buildings will be connected by pipes below 4th St. We are expecting the project to start in mid-2022 with tentative completion in late-2022 or early 2023, but a final construction schedule is still being finalized with the contractors.

2) Where are the funds coming from?

Both of these projects were included in the budget that the Olmsted County Board of Commissioners approved for 2022 and will be funded with General Obligation Bonds.

3) Will the projects have an impact on the operations of the building and affect visitors, etc?

Justice Center remodel

DFO Community Corrections employees have moved out of their space on the 4th floor of the Government Center and have temporarily relocated to either the 2nd floor of the Annex building or the 2nd floor of the Government Center. Corrections clients will be advised as to where they should check in. From there, they will be notified of where they will be meeting with staff. They may be directed to meet with staff on the 2nd floor of the Government Center or the 2nd floor of the Annex building. Clients directed to the Annex building will have to buzz in on non-court days, as the doors to the Annex will be locked.

Courts Administration will be moving part way through the construction project to their new space which will be on the 4th floor of the Government Center, but specific dates have not been finalized. In the meantime, they are still located in their existing location on the 5th and 6th floors of the Government Center.

Steam Replacement project

There shouldn’t be any significant impacts to the operations of the building or visitors, but 4th St. SE will be impacted when the piping is placed between the buildings.

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