The cost of renovating the Dauphin Courthouse and the former Dauphin Correctional Center has jumped by $4 million, the province announced Friday.
In March 2021, the province announced that Winnipeg-based Bockstael Construction had been awarded an $11 million contract to renovate the Parkland building. Today, the cost has risen to around $15 million due to “additional requirements” identified in the design process and construction costs.
“Current assets no longer meet programming needs and need essential improvements, including additional spacing and accessibility. This additional funding will ensure the modernization of these facilities and support a sustainable infrastructure for Manitoba’s justice system,” said Labour, Consumer Protection and Government Services Minister Reg Helwer. said in a statement.
“Our government is committed to providing accessible and effective justice services to people living in Dauphin and surrounding communities,” Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen said in the news release.
“These additional investments support the modernization of Manitoba’s court system and improve access to justice.”
Part of the cost increase is due to rising material and labor costs due to the COIVD-19 pandemic, according to the province. The increase is also due to a demand for additional toilets, “environmental liabilities” uncovered during the design phase, and the complexity of tying services to the 105-year-old building.
The building once housed the Dauphin Correctional Centre, a provincial jail, but in January 2020 former Justice Minister Cliff Cullen announced that it would be closed as it no longer met current needs.
At the same time, the provincial government announced a major renovation of the Dauphin courthouse, which is located in the same building. The renovations aim to improve indoor and outdoor accessibility, more court and administrative space, better security, improved videoconferencing and meeting spaces for lawyers, and new office space for employees.
The move sparked protests from the General Employees Union and the Manitoba government, which represented the dozens of correctional officers who worked at the jail. Around 350 people protested this decision in February 2020.