The historic courthouse has serious deficiencies and is inefficient, Benton County said. (Photo by Daphne Zheng/Getty Images via Canva)

The Benton County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted last month to proceed with the construction of a new courthouse with a 50% state matching grant and the county borrowing the remaining funds needed, according to a news release.

The decision ensures that the courthouse project will proceed as scheduled and the county will be able to meet the timeline for the House Bill 5006 state grant agreement. The board had explored a number of financing options and considered including the project in a May 2023 bond measure. However, the bond measure planning will proceed without the courthouse project. 

The 134-year-old historic Benton County courthouse presents serious barriers for accessibility, has Americans with Disabilities Act and seismic deficiencies, and is inefficient, the county said. The new courthouse will be located one mile north of downtown Corvallis off Second Street.

Several new facilities are under consideration as part of the Justice System Improvement Program, based on a 2018 assessment. For greatest efficiency, the facilities will be co-located on a safety and justice campus.

Facilities include a new courthouse and district attorney’s offices, correctional facility and sheriff’s office and emergency operations center. A new crisis center is also planned as part of the Justice System Improvement Program and will be located in downtown Corvallis, the county said.

The May 2023 bond measure may include funding for the crisis center, correctional facility with adequate space to offer specialized services and support for individuals struggling with mental health or addiction challenges, and sheriff’s offices and an emergency operations center. 

The estimated cost for the 34,600-square-foot courthouse is $50 million, which includes the 50% state matching grant. The project will be managed by Benton County Public Works, with the design process beginning this fall. The new courthouse is scheduled to open in 2025.