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SPARTA — Monroe County’s new $40 million Justice Center opens this month after decades in debate and three years of construction.

The complex at 112 S. South Court St. sits adjacent to but replaces the current facility, a three-story red sandstone structure built in 1895 for $53,417 with additions over the years.

“Hopefully, this building will be good for another 100 years,” Monroe County Board Chairman Cedric Schnitzler said.

The 103,000-square-foot structure — plagued over the years by construction delays and rising building costs — features a state-of-the-art jail that can house 180 inmates, four courtrooms and the sheriff’s, clerk of courts, district attorney, medical examiner, plus other justice system offices.

“It’s been an ordeal, but it’s turned out really nice,” Monroe County Circuit Judge J. David Rice said.

The courtrooms, including one constructed for future needs, include video conferencing and better security.

“This is the heart and soul of what we build for,” Schnitzler said.

The old historic courthouse, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, will be occupied by the county’s Human Services Department.

The public is invited to a building dedication ceremony at 1 p.m. Sept. 29.


Police and courts reporter

Anne Jungen covers law enforcement and the criminal justice system in La Crosse County. She joined the Tribune reporting staff in December 2005. You can contact her directly at or 608-791-8224.

(1) comment


should get plenty of use over Sparta way

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