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Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - Olmsted County is moving ahead with a plan to construct temporary courtrooms because of problems caused by the pandemic.

The Olmsted County District Court system is facing a large backlog of jury trials and because of Covid safety protocols, only one can be held at a time in the existing space.

Heidi Welsch
Heidi Welsch/ Olmsted County photo

County Administrator Heidi Welsch says it was decided to build temporary court space at the work release facility or annex located near the Government Center. The temporary court space will be located in the building’s second-floor area, which was never built out.

It’s unknown how long the court system will use the space.

Welsch says “In the long run, we expect to use that space as a partial solution to the need for expansion of Justice System space that has been under discussion for nearly a decade.“  This would be done by moving some county functions now in the Government Center to the annex after the space is vacated by the courts.

Welsch says the $3.3-million cost is mostly being paid for through federal Corona Relief Funds. She says this is a huge benefit to the county:



“By using these funds for this purpose, we have not only fulfilled the needs of the court system, but also have created the infrastructure (bathrooms, wiring, cabling, drywall, etc.) that we will continue to use for future needs without using as much property tax levy.”

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