Funded by Senate Bill 1407
Initial Funding Year: FY 2009-2010
The Main Courthouse and Annex, constructed in 1956 and 1965, respectively, has nine courtrooms for criminal, civil, family law, and probate calendars. This building is also occupied by several county agencies. The Justice Center was constructed in 1985 and is co-located with the main County Jail. This courthouse has two courtrooms for criminal calendars. The Juvenile Courthouse was constructed in 1950 and is co-located with the County's juvenile detention facility. This courthouse has one courtroom for juvenile and delinquency calendars.
This project will improve court operational efficiency, access to justice, and overall public service by providing a new 14-courtroom facility occupying 173,350 square feet. All adult and juvenile court operations will be consolidated in a single location, and two additional courtrooms will support new judgeships.
The new courthouse will be located directly across Court Street from the current courthouse, at Oregon and Yuba Streets. Site acquisition was completed in mid-2012.
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Compliance
Judicial Council staff complied with CEQA by filing a categorical exemption for this project's preferred site on December 15, 2010.
Construction Manager at Risk
What is the current status of the project?
The new Shasta County Courthouse is in the architectural design-preliminary plans phase, with an expected construction completion date in winter 2020. This schedule is subject to change.
Why does Shasta County need a new courthouse?
The Superior Court of Shasta County provides court services from three facilities in downtown Redding. The Main Courthouse and Annex—built in 1956 and 1965, respectively—handles a full range of court cases, including civil, family law, dependency, probate, traffic, and small claims. The court shares the building with several County agencies, and all jury trials are held in this facility. The Justice Center is directly adjacent to the Main Courthouse and is used primarily for felony matters, from arraignments through setting trial dates. The Juvenile Court, located three miles south of the main courthouse, handles juvenile delinquency cases and is located inside the County’s juvenile detention facility. All three facilities are unsafe, overcrowded, have numerous physical problems and significant security and accessibility issues, limiting access to justice for Shasta County residents. Examples include:
What is the plan for the new courthouse?
The New Shasta County Courthouse will include 14 courtrooms in approximately 165,000 square feet. It will provide basic services not currently offered to county residents due to the limited space in the current court facilities. The new courthouse will include appropriately sized courtrooms, jury deliberation rooms, an adequately sized self-help center, a children’s waiting room, attorney/client conference rooms, and ADA accessibility. Enhanced security features will include entrance screening of all court users, a secure sallyport, adequately sized in-custody holding and improved fire and life safety. The new courthouse will increase efficiency by consolidating all court operations under one roof in a modern, secure building that will better serve Shasta County residents.
Was renovation considered before the plan to build a new courthouse was decided on?
The Judicial Council evaluated renovation of the Main Courthouse and found that it would not be feasible, due to the building’s space limits, security issues, and physical problems. In addition, the County owns the Main Courthouse, and in most cases, the state cannot renovate a building that it does not own.
Who is the Judicial Council, and why are they managing this project?
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 council through its Capital Program office is responsible for planning, acquisition, design, renovation, and construction of court facilities. The new courthouse will be owned by the judicial branch.
Judicial Council Staff
How has the local community had input regarding the courthouse project?
The Project Advisory Group, required by Rules of Court and state law, is the main source of ongoing community input to the project. The Project Advisory Group is composed of community, legal, and government leaders. Judicial Council staff work with the group throughout the site selection, design, and construction process. In addition, project updates will be posted to the California Courts website, and media advisories will be distributed at key milestones.
What will happen to the court’s current facilities when the new courthouse is completed?
After the new courthouse is completed and the Court vacates its space in the current court buildings, the County, which owns the three facilities, will determine what to do with the vacated space.
What will happen to the grove of redwood trees and Dobrowsky House currently on the property?
The majority of the redwood trees fall within the setback—required for security reasons—from the new courthouse and will be preserved as part of the site. Judicial Council staff, the Court, and architect NBBJ are working around the remaining trees to whatever extent possible. In addition, staff is consulting with an arborist to ensure appropriate precautions are taken to protect the trees during construction.
Before construction begins on the new courthouse, all existing structures on the site will need to be cleared away: This includes the Andrew Dobrowsky House. An example of 1920s Craftsman architecture, the house was modernized for commercial use, but is currently vacant. The Judicial Council is aware of the importance of the building to the community and is currently soliciting ideas from nonprofit organizations, real estate developers, the community, and other interested parties to relocate the house. Those interested in submitting a proposal for consideration can find the necessary information at the California Courts website. The deadline for submission is March 20, 2015.
Where will the new courthouse be located?
The City of Redding and Shasta County worked with Judicial Council staff on acquisition of an approximately two-acre site, bounded by Butte, Oregon, Yuba, and Courts streets, in downtown Redding. The new courthouse site is across the street from the current Main Courthouse. In June 2011, the Shasta Board of Supervisors approved the $2.5 million sale, which also involved an equity exchange for the court’s space in the current courthouse.
What was the process used to select the site?
Judicial Council staff worked closely with the Superior Court and the Project Advisory Group, which includes community, legal, and government leaders, to determine the preferred and alternate site. Council staff followed a standard site selection process. The process involved objectively evaluating potential sites and selecting at least two sites that met agreed-upon criteria for the proposed new courthouse in providing access to justice for residents of Shasta County, within the confines of the project’s budget and schedule.
Why does the Judicial Council decide where the new court is built? Why isn't this a County decision?
Historically, trial courts functioned largely as county departments, but that changed in 2002, with passage of the Trial Court Facilities Act. This law made the State of California responsible for court facilities statewide, rather than the counties. The law gave the Judicial Council responsibility for facilities owned or occupied by the courts and made it responsible for operations, maintenance, and repairs, as well as site acquisition, planning, design, and construction of capital projects that replace or renovate courthouses. Council staff work closely with each affected Superior Court and the Project Advisory Group throughout the site selection process.
Was an environmental review completed for the project?
The Judicial Council was the lead agency for the environmental review for the new courthouse under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Staff filed a Notice of Exemption for this project on December 2010.
Will the new building be energy-efficient and sustainably designed?
Yes. The building will be designed with attention to sustainability. The building’s sustainability features are expected to qualify it for 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.
How is the new courthouse being funded?
The courthouse 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 bond funding for new and renovated courthouses using court fees, penalties, and assessments rather than taxpayer revenues from the state’s General Fund.
How did the state arrive at its budget for the project?
Council staff develop each project budget by first determining the building size, site size, and number of parking spaces. Then it provides this information to a professional cost estimating firm that creates a hard construction cost for the building and site work. To this, staff add all project soft costs, which includes all costs associated with evaluating, selecting, and acquiring a site, analysis required to comply with CEQA, the fee for the architecture and engineering team, geotechnical testing, project management and construction management fees, commissioning fees, and the cost of furniture, fixtures, and equipment.
How can the state afford a new courthouse at all, given current state finances?
To fund desperately needed renovations and repairs, criminal penalties and assessments, parking offense penalties, and civil filing fees were created or increased. This ensured a revenue stream to finance courthouse construction and renovations, promising these projects would be paid for from within the court system rather than drawing on the state's General Fund or local taxes. When the project is ready for construction, the state will sell bonds to finance the project. Once the courthouse is completed and occupied, the same revenue stream will repay those bonds over 25 years.
What is the impact of the state’s current budget crisis on this project?
Since 2009, $1.5 billion in court construction funds have been borrowed, swept to the General Fund, or redirected to court operations. As a result, this project, as with other courthouse projects statewide, has been subjected to delays. In addition, every Senate Bill 1407 project has been required by the Judicial Council to undergo budget reductions. These reductions are overseen by a statewide oversight committee of justices, judges, and public building experts established by the Judicial Council.
Who is the architect on the project?
The architectural firm NBBJ has been selected to design the new Shasta County Courthouse. Founded in 1943 and now a global firm, the company provides building and landscape architecture, lighting and interior design, and environmental graphics services for civic, commercial, education, and healthcare projects. NBBJ has been named one of the top 10 most innovative architecture firms two years in a row by Fast Company, a magazine that focuses on business, technology, and design. NBBJ designed the New Stockton Courthouse in San Joaquin County, currently in construction, and is designing the New Sacramento Courthouse.
How are the architects for courthouse construction projects selected?
Judicial Council staff follow a competitive, qualifications-based process to select the architects. Qualifications under consideration include the experience of the design and technical staff, the previous experience of the firm, and other criteria. Once the firm is selected, the fee is negotiated, and an award is made.
What are the key milestones in designing the courthouse?
Where can I see renderings of the new courthouse?
When available, renderings will be posted on the project web page under the GALLERY tab.
Will the new courthouse be energy-efficient and sustainably designed?
Most courthouse projects funded by SB 1407 are being designed to qualify for 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. The courthouse design will meet the energy-efficiency requirements set forth in LEED as well as by California Energy Code.
Who will build the new courthouse?
A Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) will be selected through a request for Qualifications and Proposals.
How will the CMAR be selected?
The CMAR will be selected through a competitive process factoring in qualitative criteria, such as the firm’s experience, as well as the contractor’s fee. The CMAR is retained early in the project for preconstruction services. Following a competitive bid for all subcontracts and the approval to award, the CMAR becomes the general contractor. Selection criteria include an evaluation of the firm’s plan for outreach to local subcontractors, ensuring that qualified local firms are fully aware of the bidding opportunity, the process, and the timeline.
What are the Judicial Council's policies with regard to local hiring and purchasing during design and construction? How will members of the public find out about these opportunities?
Once bonds are sold for this project and it is ready to be put out to bid, the construction manager at risk will become the general contractor. Before the project goes into construction, the contractor will conduct an outreach to local subcontractors, ensuring that qualified local firms are fully aware of the bidding opportunity, process, and timeline. All qualified subcontractors, lower-tier subcontractors, and suppliers will be considered.
What are the key milestones in building the courthouse?
When will the courthouse be completed and operational?
Construction is currently scheduled to begin in winter 2017; the courthouse is scheduled for completion in winter 2020. This schedule is subject to change.
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