The long-awaited Morris County Courthouse Expansion has taken another step forward.
Last week, the schematic design phase began after the county freeholders awarded AECOM with the project. This decision followed years of proposals and discussions, according to the Daily Record.
While county officials may have debated the best and most cost-effective way to move forward, there was no question that an update was required. The oldest structure in the court facilities still in use was built in 1827, with several expansions and additions since—the last coming in 1989.
AECOM, based in Clifton, is charged with designing an environmentally friendly and energy efficient new secure criminal court facility and modern court space that would be attached to the County Administration and Records Building in Morristown. The company shared its design for the site off Schuyler Place, which is currently open air parking lot.
Solving one possible issue, the new design will not require the removal and replacement of the Morris County Tourism Bureau or Deidre’s House facility for young victims of abuse and neglect, according to the county’s announcement of this next step. Both of those buildings are on Court Street and adjacent to the site of the new criminal courts.
While the complete project is expected to cost $106 million total, the new courthouse is $62 million with an additional $44 million for renovations to the existing historic courthouse and five-story Administration and Records Building.
There is no exact timeline set yet. This Phase I of this proposed six-phase project is estimated to take 18 to 24 months. In 2017, Dewberry-NJ Designers PC provided freeholders with a report called “Master Plan of Space Needs and Facilities Assessment,” which proposed the project be six phases with completion by 2030, according to the Daily Record.