WOODLAND—Local government leaders received the first public preview of the design of the new Woodland Courthouse at last night’s city council meeting when Presiding Judge David Rosenberg of the Superior Court of Yolo County and officials from the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) shared a brief presentation on the project’s progress. The courthouse is the most significant civic building to be constructed in Woodland in nearly a century.
“We will build a courthouse for the people of Yolo County that will serve as their hall of justice for the next century,” said Judge Rosenberg. “The courthouse will reflect the appropriate mix of our historical past and our present needs. I’m confident that Yolo residents will be pleased with the results of our work—this will be a courthouse which welcomes the public.”
The first phase of architectural design for the long-awaited new courthouse, by the firm of Fentress Architects in association with Dreyfuss & Blackford Architects, is nearly completed, and while construction is not scheduled to start until early 2013, the building’s architectural significance to downtown Woodland is already taking shape. The new courthouse will be located on the south side of Main Street between Fifth and Sixth Streets.
“We wanted a design that respects Woodland’s rich history,” said Judge Kathleen M. White, chair of the design committee. “The design features include a curved façade facing Main Street, with a four-column portico at the entrance which recalls the historic Yolo County Courthouse; it is a design that fits into the fabric of Woodland.”
The five-story building will consolidate court operations from seven facilities into one central building housing 14 courtrooms. The 163,000-square-foot building includes significant improvements in security, such as separate hallways for the public, court staff, and in-custody defendants, as well as better seismic safety, access, and efficiency for staff and visitors. The exterior, inspired by the Sierra white granite found in the region, will feature a granite base, with a more economical precast façade on the upper levels. A covered arcade will offer shade and protection from the elements, while a two-story glass lobby strongly connects the exterior and interior. The design incorporates numerous sustainability features; it is expected to qualify for a LEED Gold rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. Numerous energy-saving features will make the courthouse more economical to operate over time.
“We offer a great deal of thanks to the hard work of the City of Woodland as well as the design team that worked tirelessly on the goal of creating a signature building,” said Court Executive Officer James B. Perry. Design team members include Judges White, Steven M. Basha, and Samuel T. McAdam, as well as Mr. Perry and Assistant Court Executive Officer Shawn C. Landry.
The new courthouse is expected to generate hundreds of construction jobs and thousands more jobs through indirect benefit to the local economy. The project’s construction manager at risk, currently being selected, will conduct local outreach to ensure that qualified local subcontractors and suppliers have the opportunity to participate in bidding, currently scheduled for late 2012.
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 in funding for new and renovated courthouses using court fees, penalties, and assessments rather than the state’s General Fund. The state Budget Act for fiscal year 2011–2012 contains significant cuts to the account that funds SB 1407 projects. These cuts may cause delays in SB 1407 projects and project budget reductions but are not expected to delay this project’s progress in the current fiscal year.