To celebrate the new Will Courthouse and the progress achieved in its construction schedule, community leaders and builders came together for a topping-off ceremony, held Friday in Joliet.
The event, by design, aimed to mark the moment at which point the last beam is placed atop a structure during its construction. In addition, attendees took part in a beam signing ceremony.
Among the featured speakers at the ceremony were Will County Executive Larry Walsh, Sr., Will County Board Speaker Jim Moustis and Chief Judge Richard Schoenstedt.
The $215 million project has been many years in the making, several officials said.
“The new courthouse, that for many years was just a dream, is quickly becoming a big reality,” Walsh said.
The courthouse is one of several items included in Will County’s capital improvements campaign, a measure that identifies construction projects such as the Will County Health Department and the now-completed Will County Public Safety Complex.
“These projects are being completed with local labor, which is helping our local economy,” Walsh said.
The architecture firm Wight & Co. is responsible for design of the new courthouse. At 365,000 square feet, the new structure will have 10 stories and hold 38 courtrooms upon completion. The current courthouse is four stories and allows for 23 courtrooms.
“Labor has already worked over 115,000 safe hours,” Schoenstedt said. “They have hundreds of thousands of hours to go.”
Several officials lauded the ceremony for marking a great day in Joliet and Will County.
“This remarkable structure will be a focal point for downtown Joliet and will encourage more economic development,” Walsh said, noting the city’s effort to partner with the county. “Will County is committed to Joliet as our county seat. We are proud to be part of the revival of downtown Joliet. This day will be part of the history of Will County and Joliet.”
Joliet Councilwoman Jan Quillman shared that sentiment.
“With this new courthouse and the eventual reopening of Chicago Street will not only be an economic boost for the city of Joliet, but also for the county as well,” she said.
Schoenstedt gave kudos to the builders for their effort to construct the state-of-the-art facility.
He said the future completion of the courthouse will create a beautiful “centerpiece” of downtown Joliet and the county seat of Will County.
The new courthouse has an anticipated completion date in late 2020.
“This is a building for our people, built by our people, and one that our residents will be proud of,” Schoenstedt said.