Douglas County Justice Center

Transforming Justice: TUNE’s Commissioning Expertise at the Douglas County Justice Center – The realization of this visionary project has come to fruition with the completion of the Douglas County Justice Center. This significant construction effort has resulted in the creation of two key structures: the expansive eight-story, 147,000-square-foot Justice Center and the 65,000-square-foot Youth Center. These buildings, along with other judicial facilities, are strategically located within an urban campus.

Services Performed


Omaha, NE

Square Footage

212,000 SF




  • Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Commissioning
  • Lighting Commissioning
  • Systems Monitoring
  • Smoke Exhaust System Monitoring


Maximizing Efficiency and Reliability: TUNE’s Elevated Excellence in Commissioning Services

Historically, Douglas County grappled with the absence of a specialized juvenile justice center. Acknowledging this pressing requirement, a proposal emerged to address this void. This visionary endeavor aimed not only to house juvenile justice services but also to provide a home for the County Attorney and Public Defender’s offices. Additionally, the design prioritized the creation of a new youth center with a focus on minimizing trauma and reducing the duration of juveniles’ detention.

After a 25-year journey, this vision has finally materialized. The Douglas County Justice Center project is a monumental undertaking that includes a new eight-story, 147,000-square-foot Tower hosting multiple courtrooms, and administrative/programming areas. In addition, there is a new four-story Youth Center that offers 65,000 square feet of additional space. These buildings, along with other judicial facilities, are strategically located within an urban campus in downtown Omaha. A secure sky bridge extends over Harney Street, which will act as a link between the new Tower and the existing Hall of Justice complex.

Critical Services and Features
TUNE Facilities was entrusted with commissioning services for the project. Their responsibilities encompassed a comprehensive range of critical systems, including Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing (MEP), Lighting, Smoke Exhaust Systems, and Emergency Power. Within this project, several standout features emerged.

  • District Chilled Water and Steam Systems: One such standout is the implementation of District Chilled Water and Steam systems, which offer a sophisticated and energy-efficient approach to climate control. The integration of Maxi-Therm Steam Heat Exchangers further underscores the project’s commitment to cutting-edge technology and optimizing heat transfer processes within the facility.
  • Pressure Isolation Rooms: Recognizing the requirements of this facility, TUNE embarked on the task of crafting Negative Pressure Isolation Rooms. These spaces serve as a crucial component in guaranteeing the safety and welfare of all occupants, aligning with the project’s institutional group I-3 occupancy prerequisites. Furthermore, the implementation of the I-3 Occupancy Smoke Compartment Ventilation System is essential in maintaining a safe environment, particularly in a facility where security and safety are paramount concerns.

In the pursuit of optimal Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) at the Douglas County Justice Center, several key enhancements were strategically implemented.

  • CO2 Monitoring in Court Rooms and Conference Rooms: All courtrooms and conference rooms now feature state-of-the-art CO2 monitoring systems. When the concentration of CO2 reaches a predetermined level, the system automatically increases the influx of fresh air to the respective space. This proactive measure ensures a consistently healthy and comfortable environment for occupants.
  • Pandemic Mode in Air Handlers: To address the unique challenges posed by the pandemic and other seasonal illnesses, each air handler is equipped with a specialized pandemic mode. This programmed feature allows the system to respond promptly to commands, enabling an instantaneous increase in the volume of fresh air circulated throughout the building. This adaptive capability serves as a critical component in maintaining a safe and secure indoor environment, especially during unprecedented health events.

TUNE’s Commissioning Expertise in Action
TUNE Facilities, with its proven track record and demonstrated expertise, played a pivotal role in the success of the Douglas County Justice Center project. Their earlier accomplishments, notably their exemplary work on the Douglas County Corrections Center, served as a testament to their proficiency in ensuring projects not only meet contract specifications but also operate precisely as intended. It was no surprise that TUNE was the natural choice for the Douglas County Justice Center, given their unwavering commitment to excellence.

The commissioning phase of the project brought forth numerous challenges, with over 480 issues demanding meticulous tracking and resolution. However, TUNE was well-prepared to confront these challenges head-on. Their extensive experience with institutional group I-3 occupancy facilities and their expertise in the NFPA-4 integrated testing for fire alarm smoke compartment ventilation systems ensured that all issues were swiftly and efficiently addressed.

Furthermore, the successful completion of the Tower, ready for occupancy ahead of the Youth Center, was a testament to detailed planning and diligent execution. Careful attention was given to ensure that the testing and construction activities associated with the Youth Center could maintain the operation of the already functional Tower. This intricate dance of progress highlights the project’s dedication to efficiency and the seamless integration of its components.

Efficiency Transformation: Optimizing the Chilled Water System
A pivotal element of the project revolved around optimizing the performance of the chilled water system. Through rigorous testing, a critical issue came to light: the district’s chilled water was inadvertently backflowing through the bypass, resulting in significant energy wastage. However, swift and strategic alterations to the system’s operation brought about a substantial transformation.

These essential adjustments resulted in remarkable monthly savings, totaling thousands of dollars. Now, the chilled water pumps are designed to automatically power down when the air handling units enter economizing mode. This innovative modification enables the fan coil units to efficiently cool the server and electrical rooms during the winter, all while conserving energy by not engaging the chilled water pumps unnecessarily. This enhancement stands as a testament to the project’s commitment to both financial and environmental efficiency.

Post-Commissioning Support: The TUNE Approach
The journey doesn’t end with commissioning; it’s merely a milestone. TUNE demonstrated remarkable agility by addressing any issues or deficiencies identified after the project’s completion during the warranty phase. They kept communication lines open with the owner’s facilities engineers, ensuring that any issues or concerns were promptly identified and resolved. TUNE provided quick solutions, guaranteeing uninterrupted peak performance of the facility.

A Continual Connection
The project of the Douglas County Justice Center is an outstanding example of successful collaboration between engineers, architects, and commissioning experts. The project boasts innovative features, rigorous project management, and a commitment to efficiency and cost savings. It serves as a source of inspiration, reaffirming the significance of collaboration between all stakeholders to deliver projects that meet the highest standards of quality and functionality.

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