SAN FRANCISCO—The State Public Works Board (SPWB) today approved acquisition of the site for the proposed new courthouse in downtown Yreka for the Superior Court of Siskiyou County. The 2.4-acre site is bounded by Oregon, South, Fourth, and Butte Streets, across the street from the existing Yreka court facilities and jail.
“Completion of the acquisition phase of the New Yreka Courthouse is a significant milestone for this project and for our community,” said Laura Masunaga, Presiding Judge of the Superior Court of Siskiyou County. “I am very appreciative of the hard work of judges, court staff, city and county officials, the state’s Administrative Office of the Courts, and the public for their impressive efforts in making this happen."
Site acquisition approval typically enables a courthouse project to move into architectural design. However, because of significant cuts to the judicial branch budget proposed by the Governor and under consideration by the Legislature for fiscal year 2012–2013, the preliminary plans phase of this project may be delayed for at least a year.
The state is purchasing the site from Siskiyou County and the City of Yreka. The state and the court will use equity in the current courthouse and Court Construction Funds to pay the county for purchasing several privately held parcels on behalf of the state. Escrow is expected to close around the end of June.
The historic courthouse consists of multiple structures whose functional and physical deficiencies compromise the accessibility, usability, and security of the court. This building lacks holding cells and other security features for in-custody defendants, who share the same hallways with the public and court staff. Significant overcrowding has compelled the court to lease space in a nearby annex that is also deficient, with badly deteriorated electrical and plumbing systems. Both facilities are also seismically unsafe and inaccessible to people with disabilities. The new 69,000-square-foot, five-courtroom building will replace the current courthouse and annex to bring significant improvements in access to justice and public service, security, and safety to the residents of Siskiyou County.
Once allowed to proceed, construction on 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 all qualified subcontractors and suppliers have the opportunity to participate in the bidding.
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. As mentioned before, the timing for continuation of this project is unknown until the state Legislature resolves the budget for the coming fiscal year.
More information about the project can be found on the California Courts website at: www.courts.ca.gov/facilities-siskiyou.htm