Tulsa County Taking Steps Toward Replacing 70-Year-Old Courthouse Building

Tulsa County might replace the current courthouse with a new building at another site, to resolve issues of inadequate space and outdated infrastructure in the current building.

Monday, July 31st 2023, 6:47 pm



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Tulsa County might replace the current courthouse with a new building at another site, to resolve issues of inadequate space and outdated infrastructure in the current building.

Tulsa County Commission Chair Kelly Dunkerly said all options are being considered, including renovating and possibly expanding the current building, or moving criminal courts offsite, which would free up space.

The current courthouse opened 70 years ago, and despite several expansions and renovations, lacks space to handle the added demand for court services.

The County hired a consultant in April to produce options, and now the report is due September 15th. Commissioners will make the decision about how to proceed, before the financing of it would go before voters.

“We want to make sure that we have a safe work environment and the safest most effective judicial system, and that's why we're looking at all options” said Dunkerly. He noted some of the busiest offices are inconveniently on top floors, while many courtrooms are cramped, and the offices with the most public traffic need more space to operate.

The County has an estimate to remodel the building that came in at $150 million.

Dunkerly said another option would be to renovate an existing building if one could be found, or build new.

The County asked the consultant to only consider sites within the IDL, with plenty of room future needs and plenty of parking.

One option being considered is the now closed Hiland Dairy Plant on North Denver Avenue. The site is large enough, it's on the market, and just across the street from the Jail.

If the County separated the criminal and civil courts – which is an option presented to the consultant – the Civil Court could remain in the current building with enough room to operate.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum has said the City municipal courts might also move in - if the county had space.

Commissioners moved their offices and some others out of the courthouse complex into a new headquarters building across the street, and Dunkerly said that will remain, regardless of what happens with the Courthouse.

“Our plans are to keep our headquarters here, our administrative offices here” said Dunkerly. “We renovated this just a few years ago, really what we're looking at is the courthouse, whether we want to put more resources into that and change that and bring that up to date, or whether it makes sense to look at something new.”

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