Saline County Courthouse
Scope of Work
Full architectural services
Berggren Architects completed an addition to the historic courthouse.
Saline County Courthouse, circa 1927
Designed by Marcus L. Evans
This project was completed in 2019.
Historic original front entrance of the Saline County Courthouse.
The entrance to the new Saline County Courthouse addition is lit by warm exterior lights
The public’s double-doors to the district courtroom had the inner acoustical doors removed to comply with exit requirements.
After extensive staff interviews and review of available documents, Berggren Architects identified the primary needs of addressing security concerns and the preferred adjacencies of administrative, judicial, service, and support spaces. A main feature of the addition is a new elevator with both south and west doors. One secured elevator door allows for access to private spaces—those meant for detainees and court staff—which were designed to otherwise be secluded from public spaces. This satisfies the Nebraska Supreme Court’s standards for public safety and the preservation of dignity for detainees.
The $7.3 million, five-story Saline County Courthouse addition was completed in 2019. A main feature is a new elevator with both south and west doors. One secured elevator door allows for access to private spaces—those meant for detainees and court staff—which were designed to otherwise be secluded from public spaces. Other spaces include a new county courtroom, secured point of entry, a sally port providing a separate entrance for detainees, new fire separation for existing stairs, and an Emergency Management Center located in the basement designed to withstand an F5 tornado.
As much of the original courthouse was carried over to the new space as possible. Marble salvaged from old restrooms were reused to infill removed doors and for new door trims. A section of the original courthouse’s exterior wall became a bookshelf for the new judge’s chamber.
The Saline County Courthouse addition features a pedimented doorway with carved lettering.
The side elevation of the addition carries the same architectural details as the original courthouse.
The northeast corner of the courthouse addition at sunset.
The new county courtroom features controlled access for detainees and secure passage for the judge and other court personnel.
The new judge’s chamber features shelving built into a former window opening in the exterior limestone of the original courthouse.
The Veteran’s Memorial, another Berggren Architects project, is visible from the southwest corner of the courthouse.
A drone captures the Saline County Veteran’s Memorial, aligned with the entrance to the courthouse addition.
The rear door to the district courtroom was relocated from the west wall (on the left) to be center on the gallery aisle, providing access from the new addition’s courtroom waiting area.
Adjustable shelving was installed for the new county attorney’s office on the fourth floor of the addition.
Original county courtroom benches were repurposed to serve as waiting area seating adjacent to the district courtroom.
The former mailroom, adjacent to the County Clerk’s office, has been converted to a conference room.
The county clerk’s office on the second floor was expanded by removing a wall that had separated the office from a storage room.
The original Treasurer’s vault was removed to create the new waiting area outside the Treasurer’s office. The vault was relocated and enlarged in the new addition.
The judge’s chamber was designed with the original courthouse exterior exposed. A window opening was utilized to create a built-in bookshelf.
More about the
Iconic Government Centers
A natural niche for our firm has been county courthouses for almost 40 years. We provide the expertise needed to navigate the process of caring for these important historic structures.
Our team has experience in navigating the multitude of entities involved in preserving the historic integrity of the building while also providing for modern day needs and requirements.
We listen to you
We are preservation architects, let’s get together and talk about your project. Once we know your ideas, we can start your project in the right directions.
We involve you in the planning
We make it happen
What We Offer
We offer restoration and preservation of your historic structures. Using extraordinary materials and craftsmanship, our historic structures are a lasting tribute to the people for whom they were built.
We offer consulting services to both general clients and professional clients in sharing our knowledge and expertise in the area of historic preservation. Our master planning and preservation planning prepares our clients to be better able to plan for the life of their historic structures and districts.
We know the meaning of sustainability because of our in-depth work with structures which have stood the test of time. We offer sustainable and green new construction which is historically sympathetic, including in the form of additions.
Jerry L. Berggren, AIA
In 1977, Jerry Berggren founded what would become Berggren Architects, P.C. The firm began as a sole proprietorship in Lincoln, Nebraska and has since then been dedicated to the preservation of Nebraska’s finest architecture. The 1983 Jobs Bill was the milestone which introduced the firm to its most significant building type, the historic county courthouse. A project to improve the thermal efficiency of the windows at the Johnson County Courthouse in Tecumseh also initiated Berggren’s concern for energy conservation and an ongoing commitment to sustainable design.
In 1986, Jerry’s “Courthouse Trail” proposal to the state was approved. The Courthouse Trail experience solidified two career-long relationships with the Nebraska Energy Office and the Nebraska Association of County Officials. He continued to serve Nebraska’s county clients and in 2002 he became the recipient of the Honors Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This achievement was Berggren’s first nationally recognized award.
Today, Jerry Berggren has expanded his firm and employs professionals with abilities in historic preservation, architecture, interior design, sustainability, master planning and more. The future will undoubtedly hold more unexpected opportunities and challenges. He looks forward to each of those and you are invited to contact him directly regarding the architectural challenges you face.
Garry Martin, Associate AIA
Garry has been working in the architectural field continuously since obtaining a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1991. He had previously worked with Jerry Berggren as an intern in 1989 and the experience piqued his interest in the field of preservation. Garry leads the production team at Berggren Architects, P.C.
Farheen, a citizen of India, began her career with formal education in that county achieving the status of architect. When her husband was transferred to the US, she seized the opportunity to study at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln graduating in 2019 with her Master of Architecture. She immediately became one of our full time employees continuing to work until her student visa expired in July of 2020. Having to return to India, we thought we had lost a valued employee. Thanks to COVID, we have had to learn to work remotely. From India, Farheen is once again joining us. This time as a contract employee and we are very grateful to have her back
Janet has a career history as an educator, writer, and researcher in the field of historical and architectural preservation. She currently works as the College Historian for Doane College in Crete, NE and is the Curator for the Crete Heritage Society. Janet is currently employed as the firm’s Architectural/Preservation Historian.
Morgan Davis joined Berggren Architects in 2018. As an architectural intern, Morgan’s love for historic architecture has influenced her desire to understand the importance of a building’s life span. Her passion for creating environmentally sustainable designs has made her an asset to our team. Morgan is working remotely as she pursues a Masters of Architecture at the University of Michigan. She currently holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Design, Architecture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Brandy Nguyen joined Berggren Architects. in April of 2020. As an architectural student, Brandy was recruited in 2020 to become the next Larsen Legacy intern. During this year of his internship, he is taking charge of the firm’s outward appearance. Website development and polishing the proposal we submit are among his responsibilities. He is also becoming a significant help with the production of construction documents.
Alexi joined Berggren Architects in 2021. In her first year as a Larsen Legacy intern, her responsibilities began with coordinating office operations and research. Her current responsibilities include marketing and preparation of construction documents and design.