SAN FRANCISCO—The State Public Works Board (SPWB) today approved acquisition of a site in El Centro for the new family and juvenile courthouse for the Superior Court of Imperial County. The privately owned site is approximately 3.6 acres on Wake Avenue between Merrill Center Drive and Thomas Drive, midway between the county courthouse and juvenile hall.
“The court is very excited at the prospect of greatly improved facilities for family and juvenile matters. Facility improvement has been recognized as a critical need for many years,” said Juvenile and Family Law Presiding Judge Juan Ulloa of the Superior Court of Imperial County.
The new courthouse will house four courtrooms in approximately 54,000 square feet, consolidating all family and juvenile court functions in one location. Currently the Superior Court of Imperial County provides family and juvenile court functions in two overcrowded facilities, which creates operational deficiencies and is a detriment to the administration of justice for the public and court staff.
After escrow closes, the Administrative Office of the Courts, which is managing the project, will proceed with architectural design, for which the firm of Safdie Rabines has been engaged. Construction is currently scheduled to begin in mid-2013 and be completed by early 2014, subject to change.
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 affect the site acquisition approved today.
More information on the project can be found on the California Courts website at www.courts.ca.gov/facilities-imperial.htm.