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Dunklin County Justice Center


Dunklin County’s undersized sheriff’s office and jail was located across town from courts and court support, which were also inadequate for the growing community. The county identified an abandoned manufacturing warehouse that could house an integrated law enforcement, detention and judicial facility, and wanted to utilize this building for its justice needs.


While working with another firm, in Phase I, the Shive-Hattery senior justice architect creatively adapted half of the 100,000-square-foot abandoned manufacturing warehouse for a sheriff’s office and a 177-bed jail (expandable to 354 beds). Phase II of the master plan called for a future judicial center once additional funding was secured.

Phase I of the project involved the 36,720-square-foot sheriff’s office and jail, which opened in 2008. Steel cells with rear chases were utilized in the housing areas. Their reduced weight and modular construction allowed for easier installation in the existing building.

Phase II involved the adaptation of 21,200 square feet of space for the courts and court support offices, which were completed in 2014. Two jury courtrooms, one hearing room and court support, including space for judges’ chambers, court clerks and the prosecuting attorney, were designed and located within the same facility.


In 2014, the highly anticipated Dunklin County Justice Center opened, bringing a fully integrated justice center, including sheriff’s office, jail, courts and court support, into one space on the same floor. “It’s so nicely laid out, making the operation much more efficient,” says 35th Circuit Court Judge Robert Mayer. “We’ve had lawyers come in from several counties and beyond southeast Missouri, and they’re very complimentary toward the facility. I tell people that, in my experience, it’s the best facility between Memphis and St. Louis.”
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