SAN FRANCISCO—The long-awaited new courthouse for Stockton moved a significant step closer to reality today when the State Public Works Board (SPWB) approved acquisition of the final parcels needed to complete the site.
Having attended the SPWB meeting, Judge Robin Appel, Chair of the court’s Facilities Committee commented, “This is an exciting milestone in the process of obtaining a modern, safe courthouse for the citizens of San Joaquin County.”
On March 6, 2012, the state received title to the main parcel for the project, the one-acre Hunter Square Plaza at 222 East Weber Avenue, which was donated by the City of Stockton. Today’s SPWB approval enables the state Administrative Office of the Courts, which is managing the project, to purchase two small, privately held parcels immediately west of Hunter Square Plaza. The adjacent parcels, which total less than a quarter acre, will enable the design team to create an inviting, landscaped entry plaza along East Weber Avenue, allow for safer circulation of buses used to transport in-custody defendants, and locate certain building systems economically on the site instead of within the building.
The new 30-courtroom, 306,000-square-foot courthouse will have 13 stories, making it the tallest building in Stockton. It will replace the shared-use Stockton Courthouse, constructed in 1963, which lacks adequate security, is overcrowded, and is in very poor physical condition. The architectural design of the new courthouse, by NBBJ Architects of Seattle, balances classical elements and the modern requirements and scale of a major high-rise. The design has been recognized for excellence by the American Institute of Architects’ Academy of Architecture for Justice. The design also incorporates sustainability features that will qualify it for a LEED Gold rating and enable it to operate more economically over time.
Architectural design is proceeding, and construction is currently scheduled to start in early 2014. The new courthouse is expected to generate hundreds of construction jobs and thousands more community jobs through its indirect benefit to the local economy. The project’s construction manager at risk, Turner Construction, 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 is scheduled for mid-2016.
The project is being funded from the State Court Facilities Construction Fund, which comes from court fees, penalties, and assessments, rather than from taxpayer revenues in the state General Fund.
Another SPWB approval today enables a renovation project for the San Joaquin Juvenile Justice Center in French Camp to proceed to the final phase of architectural design. The project involves improvements to the existing facility, as well as a 4,000-square-foot expansion that will add a third courtroom to the juvenile courthouse. Construction for this project is scheduled to begin in early 2013 and to be completed in mid-2015.