The new 238,000-square-foot courthouse will be built on the site of the Thomas B. Dorsey Building at 9250 Bendix Road in Columbia. Construction of the new building will resolve issues posed by the more than 175-year-old Ellicott City courthouse and will improve both public safety and access to justice.

“As we break ground on the largest capital project in the history of our county, we are ushering in a new era of safety, innovation and justice in Howard County,” County Executive Calvin Ball said in a statement. The Howard County Circuit Courthouse in old Ellicott City became overcrowded and lacked adequate security.

Howard County government entered into a public-private partnership with Maryland-based Edgemoor-Star America Judicial Partners to fund and manage the more than $75 million venture.

Various sites were considered, and evaluations were conducted. The Columbia site was obvious because it’s 29 acres the county already owns.

Mike Hartman, division president at Bethesda-headquartered Clark Construction Group, said that Howard County strongly encouraged local businesses to be included in the project. Among those participating is Harkins Builders of Howard County.

Demolition of the Dorsey Building began in June 2019, and construction of the 691-space parking garage and courthouse will begin this summer on the site at 9250 Bendix Road in Columbia.