Blue Earth County Justice Center

Mankato, MN | Government + Cultural

Overview

Located in downtown Mankato, the Blue Earth County Justice Center provides a convenient location for the County's courtrooms, jail, and more.


Opportunity

Needing to relocate its operations, Blue Earth County required a more centrally located Justice Center facility that was safer, more efficient, and more convenient for County residents.

Solution

Before relocating the Blue Earth County Justice Center to a hilltop site in Mankato, extensive work with the planning committee and local community members was conducted to study multiple site options. It was determined that consolidating from multiple locations throughout the downtown area into a new single facility provided a safer and more efficient way to serve the County’s residents.

The building houses four courtrooms; a hearing room; chamber space; a jail; offices for judges, attorneys, public defenders, sheriffs, and county administrative staff; and a dispatch center. The new 167,970 sq. ft. facility is designed to increase safety and access efficiencies between agencies, reduce response times and operational costs, and accommodate future growth. A separate corridor connects the back of the holding cells to a secure elevator leading to all the courtrooms. This method addresses the site and sound separation requirements while allowing dual use of the intake and release holding cells. The site maximized open space for a prairie restoration project, native landscaping, and a future building expansion. Rain gardens treat and manage the stormwater from the building’s roof and parking areas before heading to the pond and watershed, protecting the water quality of local wetlands, lakes, and rivers. This project is a showcase for the many possibilities in sustainable design and received a LEED Silver certification, making it the first LEED-certified jail in Minnesota.

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