Leech Lake Justice Center & Tribal Police

Cass Lake, MN

The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe is a Native American tribe located in central Minnesota with more than 11,000 members covering 700,000 acres over four counties. The Band’s goal was to develop a centrally located tribal government center to include a regional justice center and tribal police facility.

BKV Group was hired to assist the Band with refining and finalizing the project to help meet their operational and budget goals. The project includes two courtrooms, a main jury courtroom, a family/hearing courtroom, and all supporting court services spaces. BKV developed a design that expressed the Band’s tribal culture and beliefs while including the standard best practices for security and judicial process. The project was developed in conjunction with Cass County to support the Band’s goal of partnering with the local county.

The plan consists of a single-story building with clear circulation and separation between public, staff, and detainees. The design team incorporated engineering systems that allow for convenient future expansion. The exterior aesthetic uses classic and durable materials and follows the Band’s direction to create a sense of modernity throughout their government spaces. As the design evolved, the team worked with the Band to incorporate traditional Ojibwe features to reinforce the sense of community and reflect cultural priorities.