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Johnson County Courthouse


Olathe, Kansas


Fentress Architects, TreanorHL

Project Type

The Johnson County Courthouse, located in Olathe, KS, was built with the future in mind. This building replaces the existing courthouse, built in 1952, which had come to its end of life. There were issues related to accessibility, security and circulation that the Design-Build team worked to address. Early involvement with and investment in all stakeholders was a key initiative to ensure the result would effectively serve all functions of the Tenth Judicial District Court, District Attorney, and supporting spaces. One way the team engaged early was by building mockups for spaces prior to breaking ground. These mockups served as a means to gather feedback from stakeholders to make sure design challenges were addressed prior to construction.

With various functions to serve, design considerations for circulation became very important as separate spaces for the public, staff and inmates are needed. In the old courthouse, attorneys were meeting with their clients in public areas. The new building offers private interview rooms within the holding cells that the attorneys can access from a public space. There are also twenty-eight courtrooms, convertible space for six additional future courtrooms, and a secure below grade garage. This space ensures secure transfers and a tunnel extension to the jail across the street. The biggest challenge for the build team was building the tunnel extension in the middle of a Midwestern winter. There are many security features built into this project to ensure safety for all who visit and work within the facility. One architectural element that serves to conceal some of the security features is the Limestone Ribbon Wall located on the east elevation. For the contractor, the Ribbon Wall presented new and unique challenges as the wall is curved, the ends are angled, and the top is canted. On top of the unique design, virtually all 27,000 square feet of limestone panels are different and unique; no two stones are the same. The installing contractor worked closely with the stone fabricator to coordinate elevation deliveries and unique mark number placements to assist an efficient processing and panel setting on site.

A light buff limestone was selected for the known durability of limestone as a building product and for continuity throughout the region. The facility was built with a lifespan of seventy-five years plus, many believing it is built to exceed that. Finishes and material were carefully selected that are proven to be durable and can be maintained.

Light buff limestone has also been used for decades as a choice building product for public facilities throughout the Midwest for its subtle movement in tone and grain structure.

Johnson County Courthouse U.S. Stone Industries Natural Kansas Limestone

Stone Used In This Project

Cut Stone

Custom Designed Stone




Bottom Ledge Cottonwood, Top Ledge Cottonwood

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