A long-anticipated expansion of the Hamilton County Government & Judicial Center is moving forward after County Council in August approved spending $535,975 on schematic design and construction management for the project, which is expected to cost $22 million to $27 million.
American Structurepoint will handle the detailed design, which construction manager Meyer Najem will use to come up with a more precise cost estimate.
County commissioners have been working since at least 2013 to ease a space crunch
at the 24-year-old building in downtown Noblesville. An expansion would create more space for the growing county courts and accommodate several offices now located in the historic
courthouse across the street.
Preliminary plans call for erecting a three-story addition just west of the existing facility. The expansion would add at least 110,000 gross square feet to the building footprint, but it remains to be seen how much of the new space would be built out right away.
The schematic design is needed to get a better grasp on such details. Depending on final costs, the project is expected to be funded with a combination of bonds and cash.
Council in 2013 approved four bonds totaling $45 million to clear a backlog of projects but held off on a $12 million bond earmarked for the building expansion. The county can borrow more without affecting the tax rate as other bonds are paid off.
Officials explored the idea of moving government offices out of downtown Noblesville but ultimately decided expansion was the better option.