Located in the southeastern corner of Idaho, Bear Lake County is named for the 20-mile alpine lake that straddles the southern Idaho/northern Utah border. Bear Lake County is home to one of Idaho’s oldest courthouses, which was built in 1884–1885. When Bear Lake County Commissioners decided to replace the historic, yet structurally problematic building, they hired Big-D to build a 15,686-square-foot, $4.9-million courthouse that would meet ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements and accommodate a much wider range of needs for the county. Big-D began construction in April 2019 and successfully completed the project in May 2020.
The main issue with the old courthouse was the prevalence of stairs, which prevented access to the building, the court, and restrooms for anyone unable to traverse stairs. This was in direct violation of ADA requirements. Bear Lake County Commissioners passed a bond to build a new ADA-compliant courthouse to greater serve the needs of the community. To meet ADA needs, the courthouse was constructed as a single-floor building. In addition to the court itself, Big-D equipped the building with a designated room for county commissioners’ meetings, as the old courthouse was so small that they had to hold their meetings at a nearby school. The new building also features offices for the clerk, treasurer, assessor, prosecuting attorney, sheriff, and driver’s license division. The new courthouse stands just north of the old courthouse, for which a new purpose is still being determined.
The new Bear Lake County Courthouse is a monumental improvement for the county and community, as it establishes grounds and sets precedence for inclusivity and accommodation for people of all abilities in Bear Lake County. Big-D is proud to have built the ADA-compliant, modern, spacious courthouse for Bear Lake County.