There was more than a little pomp and circumstance Friday afternoon, when officials cut the ribbon for the new $13.4 million multi-use building on the Kane County Judicial Center campus in St. Charles.
But there was also a sense that the new facility was worthy of celebration — and worth the wait.
The new building is believed to be the most significant facilities improvement for Kane County since Judicial Center construction in 2008. It is certainly the county’s biggest new-building investment since the opening of the $1.8 million Sheriff’s Office shooting range in 2014.
In her introductory remarks, Kane County Board Chairman Corinne Pierog said the new building creates long-awaited and much needed new home for the Kane County Coroner’s Office.
But she emphasized that the “multi-use” facility lives up to its name, addressing longstanding space and facility needs, “from the Sheriff’s Office to Facilities Management, from emergency services to vehicle maintenance to records storage.”
For the average Jane or Joe Citizen, the building means improved services.
“If you get a chance to tour the facility today or visit it in the future, you’ll see what this means in real, human terms,” she said.
“A grieving mother will have a place of dignity to say goodbye to a daughter killed in a car accident. A sheriff’s officer will be trained, not only in how to defend herself but in how to treat all citizens with respect, dignity and de-escalation.
“County trucks will last longer under a roof and be better maintained — saving taxpayers tens of thousand of dollars over the life of the vehicles. Records will be kept safely and securely that might someday crack a cold case.”
Kane County Coroner Rob Russell talked about the long road to get a new facility as well as what’s ahead for his office.
“It’s really here,” he said. “I’m so thankful.”
The former Coroner’s Office was in a building on the Kane County Government Center in Geneva. That building had served as a laundry when the property was part of a seminary.
Russell remembered “the great freezer failure” of 2013, problems with mold in 2014, a rebuilding effort in 2015 and mysterious “smells” in 2017 that he said were evidence of the inadequacy of the old facility.
Now, he said his office will be in a state-of-the-art building that will be among the best in the state.
Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain pointed to an armored rescue vehicle in the corner of the vast garage space where vehicles will be stored and maintained under a roof.
“That vehicle saved a deputy’s life last year,” he said. “This facility will save that vehicle.”
Each speaker commented on the collaboration between departments, the planning efforts and the bipartisan County Board efforts that made it possible for the multi-use building to become reality.
“Today, we come together to celebrate a project that was completed ahead of schedule, under budget and with an abundance of common sense, goodwill and teamwork,” Pierog said.