Hennepin County has a tentative plan for the future of the Southdale Library complex that will move the two courtrooms from Edina south to Bloomington.
Designs for the new courts are still being drafted, but Hennepin County Administrator David Hough said the estimated opening for the new building is 2017. The board hasn’t given final approval to the project, estimated to cost $13.5 million.
The courtrooms will be part of the Bloomington municipal building at 2215 W. Old Shakopee Rd. just off Interstate 35W at W. 98th Street. The yet-to-be-built facility will be on the second floor and, like the old satellite courthouse, will have two courtrooms. But the new building will also have a security checkpoint for visitors to pass through for weapons screening. The Southdale court area didn’t have room for a permanent screening area and building a new one would have been too expensive, Hough told the County Board last week.
The need for security screening is a major reason for the move, but it’s just one of many. At 42 years old, the Southdale Library building at 7001 York Av. S., is past its prime and in need of upgrades and overhauls.
The building, which resembles a giant white carport, sits in an increasingly dense pocket of the southwest metro area. Plans for the building remain to be determined, but tearing it down for a new multiuse project, which could include the library, remains an option.
Early next year, the moving away starts with the building’s service center, which will reopen inside Southdale Center, a few blocks away. The service center is the spot for various licenses, renewals and notaries public.
Meanwhile, Hough said negotiations will forge ahead for the courtrooms’ move to Bloomington. Hough said he expects the courts to remain in the Bloomington municipal building for several decades. Although the move out of Edina is significant, it makes sense because Bloomington is the biggest user of the southern county court outpost, Hough said.
County Commissioner Randy Johnson said visitors to the Mall of America and hotels along the Interstate 494 strip essentially boost the city’s population by a third and send lots of petty crime into the courts.