SAN FRANCISCO—The long-awaited new Redding courthouse for the Superior Court of Shasta County moved a significant step closer to reality today when the State Public Works Board (SPWB) approved acquisition of the final parcel of land needed to complete the site. The City of Redding has been instrumental in the acquisitions, working side by side with Shasta County and the state on the land purchases for the new courthouse.
“This projectwill be the culmination of over a decade of work to secure a safe and adequately sized courthouse for our citizens to access court services,” said Presiding Judge Molly Bigelow. “Our community deserves nothing less.The economic boost in terms of the number of jobs that will be created in an area that has suffered with high unemployment for so long is an added bonus.”
Located on approximately two acres at Oregon and Yuba Streets, the site is less than a block from the current courthouse, the Shasta County Jail, the Justice Center, and other justice partners such as the district attorney, the public defender, and other attorneys. The site merges six county-owned parcels and five privately owned parcels. The Administrative Office of the Courts secured the rights to the privately owned parcels in the Market Street Redevelopment Area from the City of Redding Redevelopment Agency, while county-owned parcels involved an equity transfer in partial exchange for the Shasta court’s space in the current courthouse. Escrow is scheduled to close in a month.
With the acquisition of the final parcel, the new courthouse project can move ahead with the first phase of architectural design, pending resolution of the budget for the coming fiscal year. NBBJ is the architecture firm hired to develop the plans and design the new courthouse.
The new courthouse will bring significant improvements in access to justice and overall public service and safety and will improve efficiency by consolidating operations now housed in three unsafe and overcrowded facilities: the Main Courthouse and Annex, the Justice Center, and the Juvenile Courthouse. Built between 1950 and 1965 to serve a dramatically smaller population, the now-substandard structures lack adequate security for current and future court needs.
Judges, staff, and visitors must share hallways and elevators with in-custody defendants, who await their cases seated in the jury box because there are no secure courtroom holding areas. There is also no waiting area for the public, and long lines for court services routinely spill out through the entrance to create even more security issues.
The new 14-courtroom, 173,350-square-foot courthouse will occupy four stories with a basement. The new courthouse is expected to generate hundreds of construction jobs and thousands more community jobs through its indirect benefit to the local economy. When selected, the project’s construction manager at risk will conduct local outreach to ensure that qualified local subcontractors and suppliers have the opportunity to participate in bidding, which is currently scheduled for early 2014. Completion of the new courthouse is scheduled for mid-2016.
The new courthouse project was ranked as an “Immediate Need” in the judicial branch’s capital-outlay plan, making it among the branch’s highest-priority infrastructure projects. It is funded by Senate Bill 1407, enacted in 2008 to provide up to $5 billion for new and renovated courthouses using court fees, penalties, and assessments rather than taxpayer revenues from the state’s General Fund. The state Budget Act for fiscal year 2011–2012 contained significant cuts to the account that funds SB 1407 projects. These cuts delayed certain projects and resulted in project budget reductions, but are not expected to affect the site acquisition approved today.
Until the Legislature resolves the state budget for the coming fiscal year, any future impacts on the funding of the next phase of this project will remain unknown.
More information about the project can be found on the California Courts website at www.courts.ca.gov/facilities-shasta.htm.
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The Judicial Council is the policy making body of the California courts, the largest court system in the nation. Under the leadership of the Chief Justice and in accordance with the California Constitution, the council is responsible for ensuring the consistent, independent, impartial, and accessible administration of justice. The Administrative Office of the Courts carries out the official actions of the council and promotes leadership and excellence in court administration.
~ From Press Release