Polk County Historic Courthouse Interior Renovation
Polk County Historic Courthouse Interior Renovation
Polk County Historic Courthouse Interior Renovation
Polk County Historic Courthouse Interior Renovation

Polk County Courthouse Interior Renovation

Des Moines, Iowa

37,000 GSF

Originally built in 1906, the Beaux-Arts-style Polk County courthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. Alvine Engineering’s design approach to the Polk County Courthouse interior renovation involved the creative use of long-forgotten chassis spaces for the vertical integration of new mechanical, plumbing, and electrical systems. Extensive collaboration with the onsite contractor allowed the design team to formulate paths throughout these spaces as well as install new fiber optic network cabling with new flooring installation. One main challenge that presented itself throughout multiple aspects of the project was adhering to the Owner’s strict design standards and maintaining as much of the original, historical fabric as possible.


  • 2023 Architectural Engineering Institute’s (AEI) Professional Project Award of Merit in the Renovation category.
  • Replaced the HVAC system resulting in higher occupant comfort with low energy costs.
  • Designed individual control and ventilation in the courtrooms and judge’s chambers provided by a dedicated outside air system incorporating energy recovery.
  • Designed plumbing systems, including domestic water heaters, throughout the building for increased efficiency and modernization.
  • Electrical service throughout the facility was upgraded, including distribution panels.
  • Retro-fitted existing, historic light fixtures to LED and provided new, custom fixtures to replicate historic light fixtures.
  • LED luminaries were installed for architectural façade lighting, including ground-mounted flood lights, building-mounted flood lights, and in-grade-mounted luminaries.
  • Faster, more efficient communication and data sharing were accomplished by creating telecommunications spaces and a complete optical fiber system.

Photography credit: OPN Architects

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