Blue Earth County Justice Center

Blue Earth County Justice Center

Mankato, MN

167,970 Square Feet

Before relocating the Blue Earth County Justice Center to a hilltop site in Mankato, extensive work with the planning committee and local community members was conducted to study multiple site options. It was determined that consolidating from multiple locations throughout the downtown area into a new single facility provided a safer and more efficient way to serve the county’s residents. The building houses four courtrooms, a hearing room, chamber space, jail, offices for judges, attorneys, public defenders, sheriffs, and county administrative staff, as well as a dispatch center. The new 167,970-square-foot facility is designed to increase safety and access efficiencies between agencies, reduce response times and operational costs, and accommodate future growth. A separate corridor connects the back of the holding cells to a secure elevator leading to all the courtrooms. This method addresses the site and sound separation requirements while allowing dual use of the intake and release holding cells. The site maximized open space for a prairie restoration project, native landscaping and future building expansion. Rain gardens treat and manage the stormwater from the building’s roof and parking areas before heading to the pond and watershed, protecting the water quality of local wetlands, lakes and rivers. This project is a showcase for the many possibilities in sustainable design and received a LEED® Silver certification, making it the first LEED-certified jail in Minnesota.


  • 2010 Finalist in Environmental Design + Construction Excellence in Design awards; 2010 American Institute of Architects Justice Facilities Review Award Recipient; 2009 Midwest Real Estate & Construction Review’s Success Stories-Green Edition


  • Damon Farber Associates, Klein McCarthy, EcoDEEP


  • Blue Earth County Justice Center

  • Cherokee Aquatic Center

  • Elmore Public Library

  • Fairmont Water Treatment Plant

  • Mankato Fire Station #2

  • Mankato Intergovernmental Center

  • Mankato National Guard Training and Community Center

  • Mankato Public Safety Center

  • MnDOT Enfield Safety Rest and Picnic Area

  • Nicollet County Health and Human Services

  • Prior Lake Fire Station #2

  • Rock County Law Enforcement Center

  • Second Street Ramp

  • St. Peter Community Center

  • Sumner Avenue Town Square

  • Waseca Public Safety Center