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San Juan County hires design firm to plan removal of courthouse wings and build of new public services center

San Juan County government is considering removing the non-historic courthouse wings and replacing  the Court and Sheriff programs with a new public services center, along with a seismic upgrade and renovation of the historic courthouse. 

The original historic Courthouse is in the front in this photo taken in 2022. The wing at the right houses the offices of the assessor, auditor, treasurer and upstairs the Superior Court facility and probation offices. 

The sheriff's wing is shown on the left. The historic courthouse is on the right. 

This new configuration would consolidate the operations of 18 different County departments that are currently housed in five different buildings. The building will also provide new inside and outside spaces for community use. The county says this is intended to be an amenity for the community, not just a facility for the County.

Miller Hull Partnership has been hired to lead the design effort. The consultant presented preliminary project details to the San Juan County Council on October 23 https://sanjuancowa.portal.civicclerk.com/event/2366/media.


This is not the first time San Juan County has explored updating its infrastructure. This has been a 20-year discussion with planning efforts in the 1980s, 90s, and 2000s. In 2018, the County led a 10-month effort to develop a master plan for a new County administration building in Friday Harbor. This effort included the expertise of the Miller Hull Partnership, in conjunction with an interdisciplinary team of design professionals. The process included programming efforts, community outreach, two initial site alternatives, and a final preferred option selected for further development.

Currently in the ‘Program Verification and Master Planning’ stage, the County is working closely with Miller Hull Partnership to assess internal needs, gather department feedback, and establish a financial plan. Next, the County will enter the ‘Schematic Design Stage,’ at which point Miller Hull will produce a design that illustrates the general scope, scale, and relationship of project components. The design will be conceptual in character and ready for public input.

The County will use this first schematic design to lead community discussions, solicit public feedback, and hone the final product. Those interested in following the project progress can subscribe to updates on the Engage page: https://engage.sanjuancountywa.gov/public-services-center.  



The first courthouse was a wood frame shack and the use of the home of Edward Warbass. The second courthouse located at the southeast corner of Spring Street and First Street was a two story wood frame structure built in 1883.



  • Robert cantrill Thursday, 02 November 2023 07:04 Comment Link Report

    Would be nice to put it up to the public rather than you on your remodel. And how you going to do this on a 32 hour work week which I totally disagree on. Why don't you do something like build some adorable house the little houses out side of town heard they were 800k way to much. What I see is your going to drive everyone out of Washington and then who is going to pay for it?

  • Marie Z Johansen Tuesday, 31 October 2023 21:28 Comment Link Report

    I was really hoping that this news item was a “trick” for All Hallow’s. I can barely believe what I am reading. What an ill advised idea at this time! They authorized money for yet another ‘feasibility’ study of this issue when Lord knows we need money for more important things right now. It was only about 25 years ago that I recall looking at brick samples to consider what matched the old building the best when the new Sheriff’s Wing was added!

    What folly….or should I say what another folly. Good grief ! I know we are, alas, still growing and there will, no doubt, come a time when change will h a v e to be considered. Right now though let’s try to get a few other important “money- needing” ducks in a row….

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