The American Institute of Architects

Blue Earth County Justice Center

Mankato, MN


0Blue Earth County, MN determined that despite a limited budget, their new Justice Center should be a model for sustainable design in the region. While to date no LEED certified detention center had been built in the state of Minnesota, the client asked the design team to develop strategies to achieve LEED certification. The brief for the design was to produce a cost-effective solution that would also serve as a symbol to the community of the County’s commitment to public safety and sustainability. In addition to that challenge, the client wanted to ensure the facility was built to the highest technical standards, utilizing state-of-the-art technology in both the detention portion of the project and the law enforcement and courts spaces. The energy intensive nature of the integrated 203-bed jail facility made achieving LEED certification a challenge. However, this challenge allowed the design team along with their LEED consultant to explore various innovative strategies that had not previously been utilized in a detention facility in the region. In addition to providing a 203-bed jail facility, the new Justice Center integrates all courts and County law enforcement facilities under one roof, including 911 Dispatch and Emergency Operations. The extensive building is scaled and conceived to be an anchor to a fast developing area of the city of Mankato, while reinforcing the character of the surrounding light commercial and residential developments. The final product, which achieved LEED Silver Certification, has proven to be an example of what is possible in sustainable design for multi-use justice facilities even in harsh northern climates. The moderate cost and high quality of the completed design have already encouraged other municipalities in the region to make energy efficiency and sustainable design features a top priority in their justice facilities.



0Blue Earth County


Type of facility

0Court, Detention, Law Enforcement

Type of construction


Site Area

037.68 acres

Area of building

0172,148 SF

Total Cost of Construction


Status of Project




0Klein McCarthy Architects in association with Paulsen Architects

Structural Engineer

0Paulsen Architects

Mechanical Engineer

0Engineering Design Initiative, Ltd.

Electrical Engineer

0Engineering Design Initiative, Ltd.

Civil Engineer

0Bolton & Menk, Inc.

Interior Design

0Paulsen Architects

Justice Planning

0Klein McCarthy Architects

Security Consultant

0Ericksen Ellison and Associates

LEED Consultant


Food Service Consultant

0Robert Rippe & Associates, Inc.

Landscape Architect

0Damon Farber Associates

Construction Manager

0Construction Analysis Management Incorporated

Margin Comments
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Blue Earth County Justice Center


April Pottorff


Posted Date:
9/27/10 2:29 PM

Last Viewed:

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