The Benton County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to co-locate the District Attorney’s Office (DAO) in the new courthouse to be constructed on the Community Safety and Justice Campus. Approximately 9,000 square feet for the District Attorney’s Office will be funded through County borrowing, for a total of $8 million and will be included with courthouse construction and managed by Benton County Public Works. The design process will begin in fall 2022. The new facilities are scheduled to open in 2025.
Last week, the Benton County Board of Commissioners made the decision to proceed with the construction of a new courthouse with a 50% state matching grant and the County borrowing the remaining funds needed. This ensures that the courthouse project will proceed as scheduled and the County will be able to meet the timeline for the grant agreement. The matching funds do not include the costs associated with new facilities for the District Attorney’s Office.
“To best serve our community’s criminal justice system needs, a meaningful investment in the system’s infrastructure is critical,” said Benton County District Attorney John Haroldson.
This investment decision is based on recommendations from the Justice System Improvement Program Technical Advisory Committee and offers operational efficiencies and construction cost savings. It also will relocate the DAO out of the seismically unsafe historic courthouse more quickly.
“Today’s decision to co-locate the District Attorney’s Office with the courthouse on the Community Safety and Justice Campus reflects the Board of Commissioners’ commitment to develop an efficient, effective, and equitable justice system in Benton County,” explained Board Chair Nancy Wyse. “Co-locating these facilities on a campus that will include a new correctional facility and Sheriff’s Office will lead to operational efficiencies and enhanced outcomes for County residents”.
The remaining projects in consideration for a May 2023 bond measure include expanded facilities for a new downtown crisis center, a correctional facility, sheriff’s office, and emergency operations center located on the new campus. In addition to the 30+ presentations and meetings that have taken place earlier in the planning process, several community engagement activities will be offered this fall before the Board makes a final decision about a bond measure to put before voters next spring.