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Upgrades to the Minnesota Judicial Center will include new metal detectors and a security kiosk surrounded by bulletproof glass. (File photo: Kevin Featherly)
Upgrades to the Minnesota Judicial Center will include new metal detectors and a security kiosk surrounded by bulletproof glass. (File photo: Kevin Featherly)

Bar Buzz: Judicial Center will have enhanced security next year

By the fall of 2020, the state’s Judicial Center should have new metal detectors. And its security kiosk near the ground floor’s main entrance should be surrounded by bulletproof glass.

Call it a sign of the times.

“It will protect the people that are behind it so they can respond if they need to,” said Chris Guevin, plant management director for the state Department of Administration.

Guevin updated the Advisory Committee on Capitol Area Security on the status of Capitol campus security upgrades during a short hearing Wednesday.

Earlier this year, the committee requested $33.5 million in Capitol area security upgrades, but the Legislature came up with just $10 million, Guevin said. That puts about two-thirds of already-slated upgrades on hold, he said.

But other elements around campus are moving ahead. JE Dunn Construction has officially signed on as contractor, for instance. That is the same company that renovated the Capitol in 2017.

While some design concepts and schematics are still being worked through with tenants, the project’s current phase should get under way by late this year or early next year, he said.

It should wrap up by the fall of 2020, Guevin said. When it’s over, the State Office Building, where House members have offices, will have a beefier security kiosk—right now, it’s just an open desk. The Department of Revenue’s Stassen Building and the Minnesota History Center will also get hardened kiosks.

You also might notice—or not—additional cameras, card readers and shatter-resistant film on glass doors around campus. In some select spots near the Capitol, there will be new controlled access gates for parking lots, too, Guevin said.

The Capitol itself and the state’s Senate Office Building are among the buildings where you won’t see any changes.

Enhanced security measures were already included during the Capitol renovation and the Senate building construction a few years back. “But certainly some security upgrades need to be done there, too, probably at some point in the future,” Guevin said.

Guevin told committee members Wednesday that the Administration Department, which serves as landlord over state-owned buildings, will urge the Legislature in 2020 to come up with the $23.5 million the security project didn’t get in 2019, so it can finish the current slate of security upgrades in other buildings.

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About Kevin Featherly

Kevin Featherly, who joined BridgeTower Media in mid-2016, is a journalist and former freelance writer who has covered politics, law, business, technology and popular culture for publications and websites in the Twin Cities and nationally since the mid-1990s.

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