Butte County, Chico Courthouse

Superior Court of California, County of Butte

Funded by Senate Bill 1407
Initial Funding Year: FY 2009-2010

Architect's rendering: new Chico courthouse

Current Status
This project is in construction with a current expected completion date of 1 Q 2015.

Vital Statistics
Courtrooms: 5
Square footage: 67,443
Current authorized project budget: $65,064,000  
More information
Overview

The Superior Court of Butte County uses three geographically separate facilities: the Chico Courthouse and the Paradise Courthouse in the northern part of the county and the main Butte County Courthouse in Oroville, located in the south. Both the Chico and the Paradise courthouses poorly serve the growing needs of the county, hindering the court's ability to provide a full range of services to this population center.

The Chico and Paradise courthouses suffer from space restrictions, problems with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility, and security constraints, limiting the types of matters that can be handled there. For example, although the county's population center is in the greater Chico area, the court must process all criminal, family law, juvenile, and mental health cases, as well as all appeals and the jury selection for every criminal case type, in Oroville. All family law and domestic violence cases are heard in Oroville, far from the county's population center, creating a hardship for many.

This project is for a new full-service, five-courtroom courthouse in the greater Chico area. The facility would consolidate court operations of the two existing north-county facilities. Site support will include surface parking for visitors, staff, and jurors.

In November 2010, the California Public Works Board approved acquisition of a site for the courthouse: approximately 4 acres in the Meriam Park area in southeast Chico, north of 20th Street and east of Bruce Road, and the property has closed escrow.

California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Compliance

The AOC complied with CEQA by filing a Notice of Determination for this project on April 5, 2010.

New Butte County Courthouse Groundbreaking


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Architect's rendering, looking Southeast

Architect's rendering: looking Northwest

 

Architecture/Engineering Firm

Tate Snyder Kimsey

Construction Contractor

Otto Construction

April 2012 update

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.

This project has been designated a cost-reduction demonstration project, which means it will use lower-cost construction methods similar to tilt-up construction. The budget for this project—which is in working drawings—has been reviewed to achieve this end with no impact to the schedule. This web page will be updated with a revised budget and schedule once approved by the judicial branch as well as the state executive and legislative branches.


October 2011

Why do we need a new courthouse?

The Chico and Paradise courthouses suffer from space restrictions, problems with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility, and security constraints, limiting the types of matters that can be handled there. For example, although the county's population center is in the greater Chico area, the court must process all criminal, family law, juvenile, and mental health cases, as well as all appeals and the jury selection for every criminal case type, in Oroville. All family law and domestic violence cases are heard in Oroville, far from the county's population center, creating a hardship for many.

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 primarily responsible for planning, acquisition, design, and construction of court facilities

How is the new courthouse funded?

The courthouse will be funded without impact to the state’s General Fund. The funds 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.

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. These cuts are expected to cause delays in certain projects. However, the specific impact on this project won’t be known for several months. In the meantime, the project is proceeding in its current phase of preliminary plans, which is the first phase of architectural design.  This project web page will be updated with any changes as they are determined.

Where will the new courthouse be located?

The new courthouse will be located in the Meriam Park development, near the corner of Bruce Road and East 20th Street in Chico.

How was the site selected?

The site for the new courthouse was selected in conjunction with the local court through an objective process that followed the Judicial Council’s site selection policy. Various sites were proposed and evaluated by the AOC and the Superior Court of Butte County. The site evaluation was validated by the Project Advisory Group, which includes the court and representatives of city and county government. Site selection was approved by the State Public Works Board (SPWB). Once the preferred site was selected, the purchase agreement was negotiated with the owner and then submitted to the SPWB for approval.

What is the projected timeline?

Currently the project is in preliminary plans, the first phase of architectural design. Design is currently forecasted to be completed in summer 2012, with the prequalification and bidding of construction contracts schedule for fall 2012. The planned start for construction is contingent upon funding, but is currently projected for December 2012, with project completion in mid 2014. This schedule is subject to change.

Who is the architect for the project?

The architect for the project is the firm of Tate, Snyder, Kimsey Architects. Tate Snyder has extensive experience in design of public buildings, including justice facilities.

Will the project hire local contractors and suppliers?

The AOC will contract for construction using a two-step, competitive bid process to select the general contractor. Prospective contractors will undergo prequalification before being invited to bid on the project. The selection of that firm and their work on the project will include local outreach to ensure that qualified local first-tier and lower-tier subcontractors and suppliers will have the opportunity to bid on the construction work.

Will the new courthouse be energy efficient and sustainably designed?

All courthouse projects funded by SB 1407 are being designed to achieve a LEED Silver certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. This is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance “green” buildings. More information on LEED

Contact Info

Judicial Council of California
Capital Program

455 Golden Gate Avenue, 8th Floor
San Francisco, California
94102-3688
PHONE
415-865-4900

EMAIL
JBCP@jud.ca.gov
FOR COURTS TO REPORT FACILITY ISSUES
Customer Service Center:
888-225-3583 or csc@jud.ca.gov
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