Waukesha County Courthouse Enhances Safety and Functionality with Courtroom Upgrades

Waukesha County Courthouse 4

Waukesha County’s court facilities needed an upgrade to meet evolving safety and security standards, particularly regarding Wisconsin Supreme Court Rule SCR68 and Department of Corrections Administrative Code 350. Our goal was to create safe and modern courtrooms that complied with regulations and improved operational efficiency for the Sheriff’s staff.

Our team completed a thorough master plan study in 2013 for this project that included the identification, analysis, and recommendation related to 26 different studied options. The selected option for this transformative project involved the demolition of the original jail built in 1959, construction of a new courthouse addition, and renovation of the existing courthouse.

We were tasked with demolishing the original county jail and designing an addition to the existing 1959 courthouse which included eight courtrooms and fit between two existing buildings. We solved this challenge by providing two courtrooms per floor which provided three-way separation between the public, staff, and inmates – a safety measure to prevent potential confrontation.

The renovated and new courtrooms include six standard courtrooms, one large capacity courtroom, and one intake courtroom with an attached bond room. The former jail site now serves as the court holding area and intake court. The standard and large capacity courtrooms have private victim/witness rooms, inmate holding cells, and conference rooms. All aspects of the building possess upgraded technology to enhance public safety, streamline operations and improve public access to Criminal and Traffic Court services.

Additional security upgrades include enhanced video surveillance, upgraded fire protection, a courtroom layout that supports a clear line-of-sight for court officials and bailiffs, automatic lockdown capabilities for courtrooms in emergencies and the implementation of staff and public announcement systems for emergency notifications.


Waukesha, WI


52,000 SF

Services Provided:

Architectural Planning and Design, Structural Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Plumbing Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture

John Sabinash

Vice President | Director, Government

John Sabinash has more than 20 years of experience in the design and construction of municipal buildings of all varieties. His wealth of experience, proven team leadership and coordination have resulted in an exemplary track record for delivering projects on time and on budget. As director of our government studio, he leads the team of architects and technicians from project planning and design, to the production of construction documents. John received his Master of Architecture degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

John has been a featured speaker on visionary planning for state-of-the-art police facility design and sustainable design. His completed projects have been recognized for design and project delivery throughout the Great Lakes region.