An overhead view of the new Cape Girardeau justice center. Submitted photo
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County OKs new justice center contract with Penzel Construction

by Jay Forness ~ Assistant Editor

Penzel Contruction has signed a contract for the $18 million justice center project for Cape Girardeau County. The county commissioners approved the contract during their regular meeting on Oct. 4.

Penzel Construction’s design-build team, which includes TreanorHL Architects of Kansas City, was awarded the project on Sept. 14. Phil Penzel, president of Penzel Construction Company, said now that the contract is finalized, “everything needs to be moving at a high rate of speed now.”

The company is planning to start submitting designs to the City of Jackson later this month and begin dirt work on the site in the beginning of November.

“We haven’t done anything yet, but we are getting ready to build that north parking lot, which would allow those who are parking towards the south of the site to move around to the north,” Penzel said. “That will get them out of our way to start foundation work.”

The project is divided into three phases — first relocating the county staff parking lot, then open space for a laydown area for construction equipment to stay on site and lastly, the construction of the new justice center. The project is scheduled to be finished March 31, 2020.

Penzel said the building was designed to match the feel of the current courthouse, especially when it came to the exterior. The design incorporates limestone quarried in Perryville to help connect the two buildings.

“We obviously are going to have some more modern materials than we had back in the day, but we thought it was important to bring some of the old into the new,” Penzel said.

The entrance will be an open, two-story space with large glass openings to allow natural light into the building. On the first floor will be two courtrooms of varying sizes, a jury orientation room, office space for the court clerk and security at the entrance of the building.

Up the entrance stairs to the second floor will be two more courtrooms with jury deliberation rooms and the prosecuting attorney’s office suite. The plans also include a version of second floor where the prosecuting at-torney’s office could be replaced with two additional courtrooms.

The third floor includes a fifth courtroom, judge’s chambers and the drug court. The plans also include room for a sixth courtroom, which the county has not approved yet.

The sixth courtroom, along with room for information technology offices, were alternates in Penzel’s bid. Penzel said neither has been accepted at this time but “the space is there if they decide to do it.”

The justice center will include a garage level that will have 16 parking spaces, building support and a secure corridor to transfer inmates from the county jail.

At the Oct. 4 county commission meeting, the county approved a change order with Navigate Building Solutions, which was the county’s design-build criteria consultant through the contract signed with Penzel, to provide additional services during the second phase of the project.

Commissioner Charlie Herbst said Navigate will help finish contracts and other loose end items through Oct. 31. The company will be paid at a rate of $192 per hour of work.

After the meeting, the commissioners spoke about what will happen to the current courthouse during this process. Commissioner Paul Keper said their thought process is to wait until the new courthouse is completed and people move out of the current courthouse before they figure out how the current building will be used.

Herbst added that the needs of the county may be different in two years, so they will wait to make those decisions untill the new courthouse is closer to completion.
 
 

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