Our Work

Oldham County Judicial Center

LaGrange, KY
Oldham County Judicial Center

Oldham County Judicial Center, LaGrange, KY is on the move.  And it will soon move it all over again.

The 150-year-old Oldham County Courthouse has been lifted four feet and will be moved 100 feet to another location while a new foundation is constructed. “More than 800 tons and nearly 150 years of history are on the move — very slowly — this week in Oldham County. The county’s courthouse is shifting to accommodate a new, bigger judicial center, which will incorporate the historic brick courthouse. It’s a fairly slow process, getting it into place,” said John Vaughan, senior vice president of Edwards Moving and Rigging, the company relocating the precious cargo. It will take days to move the structure more than 100 feet to a temporary location using a hydraulic sliding system, he said. A new foundation will be laid overlapping where the original courthouse currently stands, after which workers will place the historic building on its new foundation.”

Project Photos

Project Details

The Oldham County Project Development Board (PDB) decided it was important to the community to locate the new judicial center in downtown La Grange on the central green. Since the historic courthouse, a courthouse addition, and the jail sat on the site this decision posed several challenges. One challenge was how much of the existing buildings to raze and how much to retain. From the existing condition flowed the challenge of designing a new judicial center that accommodates the existing buildings. Sherman Carter Barnhart prepared multiple designs illustrating a range of options for the new judicial center, including:

  • Razing all of the existing buildings and building a new judicial center
  • Razing only the jail and courthouse addition and building a new judicial center next to the historic courthouse
  • Razing the jail and courthouse addition and adding a new addition to the historic courthouse.

Knowing the scale of the new judicial center and its relationship to the adjacent city context was very important to the PDB, we created photorealistic renderings of each option to illustrate how the new judicial center would fit on the site and relate to the surrounding city.

Through dialogue with the PDB about the various options along with the impact on the city and historic courthouse the decision was reached to keep the historic courthouse and demolish the jail and courthouse addition. Through studying the photorealistic renderings all stakeholders agreed a two-story building was most appropriate for the city green. The existing courthouse will be moved forward on the site to provide sufficient site area for the new judicial center.

Located behind the existing courthouse, the new judicial center gracefully embraces the historic building in a manner which maintains the historic courthouse’s prominence and importance. The exterior reveres the existing architectural style by using the traditional design elements from the historic courthouse including projected corner brick pilasters, arched windows with millwork, window heads, and a detailed cornice. The historic structure’s metal roof and cupola will be restored, and a sloped metal roof completes the new center’s reverence of the historic courthouse.

Within the existing historic courthouse, the first floor will be gutted and renovated to provide entry to the building and return the public entrance to its original location in the old courthouse. The second floor will be removed, and a new floor will be inserted. The new floor will adjoin the new judicial center providing much needed program space. The first floor will include a central monumental stair leading to an interior balcony. Solid wood will be placed throughout the new judicial center, with terrazzo floors and stone tile wainscoting throughout the public areas.