Funded by Senate Bill 1407
Initial Funding Year: FY 2009-2010
Video: Statewide Tour of Courthouse Needs Includes Willows (3:53)
The proposed project will improve security and functionality and increase efficiency by consolidating the two facilities into one—a renovated and expanded historic courthouse in Willows. The proposed project is being planned consistent with the U.S. Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. The previous additions will be demolished, returning the historic building to its original form before an addition is built behind it.
The historic courthouse will undergo a seismic strengthening and improvements to its mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems. The historic courthouse will house the main entrance and lobby, security screening, self-help center, mediation and settlement spaces, court administration, and one courtroom. A planned two-story, 26,900 square-foot addition will be located behind the historic courthouse, on state property and on a small parcel to be acquired from Glenn County. The addition will house clerk's offices and court operations, two courtrooms, the sheriff, and holding areas for in-custody defendants. The addition will be designed as compatible with, but differentiated from, the historic building.
The proposed project also includes plans for the state to acquire a half-acre parcel of land within walking distance of the court to construct a new 50-car parking lot for visitors, jurors, and staff.
During construction, the court will vacate the main courthouse, operating at the Orland Branch and at the Willows Memorial Hall, which houses the Board of Supervisors. Staff will relocate to leased swing space in Willows until construction is complete.
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Compliance
The AOC complied with CEQA by filing a categorical exemption for this project on December 1, 2010.
Page & Turnbull
Construction Manager at Risk
What is the impact of the state’s current budget crisis on this project?
The state Budget Act for fiscal year 2011–2012 contained unprecedented cuts to the judicial branch budget in general and to the account that funds SB 1407 projects in particular. Taking account of the state’s continuing fiscal crisis, in April 2012, the Judicial Council approved cost-reduction measures affecting all projects funded by SB 1407. News release.
As a result, this project will be required to undergo a budget reduction of 2 percent or more of hard construction costs. Further reductions beyond the minimum are expected if no compromises to safety, security, building performance, or court operations will result. This project is in preliminary plans, so this action is not expected to delay the project. Until the state Legislature resolves the budget for the coming fiscal year, any future impact on funding the next phases of this project is unknown. This web page will be updated with any changes.
Who is the AOC, and why are they managing this project?
The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) is the staff arm of the Judicial Council of California. The Judicial Council is the policymaking body for the California court system, including the trial courts, known as “Superior Courts,” based in each county. Among other responsibilities, the AOC is responsible for planning, acquisition, design, and construction of court facilities
How is the courthouse project funded?
The courthouse will be funded without impact to the state’s General Fund. The funds will come from statewide increases in court user fees, authorized by Senate Bill 1407, which passed in 2008. This bill approved the issuance of up to $5 billion in lease revenue bonds to fund this project and 40 others throughout the state, to be repaid by court fees, penalties, and assessments.
Why is the county spending money on a new courthouse when there are so many other local needs?
The project is funded and managed by the state and not the County. The courts are a separate branch of government, now independent of the County administrative structure.
Will the renovation project include parking?
Yes, the proposed project also includes plans for the state to acquire a half-acre parcel of land within walking distance of the court to construct a new 50-car parking lot for visitors, jurors, and staff.
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