News Release: Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Celebrates Completion of New Lake County Court Tower

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July 17, 2018

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Celebrates Completion of New Lake County Court Tower

Leaders also Dedicate Audrey H. Nixon Memorial on New Pedestrian Bridge  

Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Jay Ukena, Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor, along with judges, county board members, elected officials, justice partners and others gathered today for the ribbon-cutting of the new Court Tower in downtown Waukegan. The ceremony also included the dedication of the Audrey H. Nixon Pedestrian Bridge.

The new eight-story, 200,000 sq. foot court tower houses 12 new courtrooms, jury assembly space, various administrative services and room for six future courtrooms. The tower construction began in June 2016 and will open to the public July 30, 2018.  

“Today was a day to celebrate the culmination of years of planning, designing and building of the new court tower.  This new facility will aid the 19th Judicial Circuit Court in accomplishing its mission of providing a fair and efficient system of justice, committed to excellence, fostering public trust, understanding and confidence. Our partners in the Lake County government recognize that investing in the justice system is critical to a civil society. I thank them for their vision and efforts in making this expansion a reality,” stated Chief Judge Ukena.

In 2012, the Lake County Board approved the Lake County Courthouse Expansion Project to increase the efficiency of the justice system and support the growth of the justice agencies out to the year 2030 and beyond. The court tower is the second phase of the $110 million project, which also included construction of a new underground tunnel connecting the jail and courthouse for secure and efficient in-custody transfers. The third phase includes the remodeling of Babcox Justice Center, which is expected to be complete next summer.

Earlier this year, the County Board named the pedestrian bridge connecting the Court Tower to the main Lake County Courthouse in honor of the late Lake County Board Member Audrey H. Nixon (District 14) who passed away in 2017. At the ceremony, Chairman Aaron Lawlor, joined by County Board Member Mary Ross Cunningham (District 9), who also serves as the Chair of the Law and Judicial Committee, unveiled and dedicated the Audrey H. Nixon commemorative display that will be located at the entry of the bridge.

Chairman Aaron Lawlor said, “Audrey Nixon spent a lifetime bridging divides and bringing people together.  Dedicating this bridge and opening the new court tower on her birthday marks the impact she had on Lake County and the 19th Judicial Circuit."

The new court tower is now the tallest building in Waukegan, standing approximately 170 feet above street level. The north face of the building features a façade, referred to as “the wave,” a signature design concept that recognizes the significant of Lake Michigan in Lake County.


Alex Carr
Communications Specialist
Email Address:
Phone Number: 847-377-2156