Warren County court building underway, crime unit HQ planned

Growing county’s court building will cost $12.5 million on Justice Drive; law enforcement/SWAT building could cost $4-8 million on west edge of Lebanon

Warren County is continuing to replace government facilities with more than $16 million in projects moving forward.

Crews are prepping the site of a new county court building, and plans are in the early stages for a new headquarters for a law enforcement unit, said Trevor Hearn, head of the county’s facilities management.

The new $12.5 million court facility on Justice Drive, southeast of downtown Lebanon, is replacing the one built in 1976, Hearn said.

“Due to the growth of the county seen over the last 10 years, (it) just has the need to expand the services that they offer to the residents here,” he said.

The county’s population last year was 252,148, nearly 40,000 more than in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Hearn said the new one-story, 28,000 square-foot building will feature two new courtrooms, a hearing room, and space for the Probation Department, County Court Clerk and other personnel.

County officials have said the new building will be paid for in cash and won’t be bonded.

“The goal will be to pay cash for each step and not burden our residential and business communities with undo interest costs,” County Administrator Martin Russell said in an email.

The preferred site for the criminal suppression unit command post is in the 1400 block of West Ohio 63 in Lebanon, Hearn said. It will replace the 48-year-old SWAT facility built as a mechanics garage.

The estimated cost is $4 million for the base project, which would involve a facility of about 16,000 square feet, and $8 million for an expanded site of about 36,000 square feet, county records show.

“We’re being purposefully vague on some of that information just because of the nature of what’s going to be in that building” involving law enforcement tactics and techniques, Hearn said.

The deadline for submitting proposals for the site’s design/build is Wednesday, according to county records.

Initial site work is expected to start in early 2025 with construction targeted to begin that spring, documents show.

Since December 2019, the county has expanded its probate/juvenile site at the Juvenile Justice Center ($4.4 million) and completed a new sheriff’s office and jail ($56.5 million), Hearn said.

Demolition of the former jail and SWAT building ($625,000) is about 75% complete, he added.

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