Carlton County officials continue to make preparations for the construction of a new jail next to the courthouse.

After moving the economic development and county coordinator’s offices from the courthouse to Cloquet in March, the county is planning to reorganize the courthouse to maximize the space and make the building more secure.

The Carlton County Sheriff’s Office provides security for the building, with a deputy monitoring the entrance. The office space provided for the deputies working in the courthouse has been located on the fourth floor of the courthouse, but now it will be on the first floor adjacent to the entrance.

In addition, the public defender’s office will move to the second floor, giving those attorneys more space to work with clients at the courthouse. The move helps give attorneys without office space in Carlton County a place to set up and work between cases at the courthouse, according to County Coordinator Dennis Genereau.

“Those public defenders are a critical component of our justice system and to give them the tools necessary to do their very best job is really important,” Genereau said. “Good office space is a part of that.”

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The reshuffle of space at the courthouse will give the county three additional conference rooms at the courthouse to be primarily used by the county. The space vacated by the court security officers on the fourth floor will provide a new conference room for the courts in the secure judicial corridor of the building.

Genereau said more departments and offices could be moved around over the next two years as the county works toward building a new jail next to the courthouse in Carlton.

County selects construction manager

The Carlton County Board of Commissioners chose Adolfson & Peterson as the construction manager for the initial stages of its new jail project during its meeting Tuesday, April 13.

The company will oversee the pre-design and pre-construction phases of the project, according to Carlton County Sheriff Kelly Lake, at a cost of $37,891.

Lake said the contract includes a termination clause should the county want to move forward with another construction manager after the initial phase of the project.

The county has been working toward building a new jail facility for several years, but the process kicked into high gear in 2020 when the Minnesota Department of Corrections issued a sunset letter stating the more than 40-year-old facility can no longer house prisoners after July 31, 2023.