Funded by Senate Bill 1407
Initial Funding Year: FY 2009-2010
However, the facility, built in 1954 and since only lightly remodeled, contains numerous deficiencies in access, efficiency, security, overcrowding, compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and physical condition. For example, the courthouse has overcrowded courtrooms as small as 600 square feet and only two holding cells, so in-custody defendants wait on benches in crowded public hallways.
The proposed project would replace this facility with a modern, secure courthouse for juvenile delinquency proceedings. Security improvements would include an appropriately sized screening area as well as separate hallways and adequate holding facilities for in-custody defendants.
The proposed project would enable the court to provide basic services not currently possible because of space restrictions, including a public lobby, public counter queuing areas, attorney/client conference rooms, and a child waiting room. The proposed project also includes secure parking for judicial officers and 150 surface parking spaces for court staff, jurors, and court users.
A site has not been selected for the new courthouse. Once the new courthouse is completed, the court will vacate its space in the county-owned building.
Construction Manager at Risk
To be selected
What is the current status of the project?
The new Eastlake Juvenile Courthouse, Los Angeles County, is in the site acquisition phase, with an expected construction completion date in fourth quarter FY 2022-2023. This schedule is subject to change.
Why does Los Angeles County need a new juvenile courthouse?
The Superior Court of Los Angeles County is one of the largest trial court systems in the nation, serving approximately nine million county residents. Within this system, the Eastlake Juvenile Courthouse handles a high volume of delinquency cases, most involving in-custody juveniles, with over 19,000 visitors per month. The one-story courthouse, built in 1954, occupies approximately half of the county-owned building it shares with juvenile support services. Located adjacent to the Central Juvenile Hall, the courthouse and the hall are connected by a secure corridor for the transportation of in-custody juveniles to the courthouse.
The current courthouse has numerous security deficiencies. The court hosts more than 20 classifications of in-custody juveniles that must be segregated from others, based on the types of delinquent acts committed. In-custody adults required to appear in court as parent, legal guardian, or as a participant in juvenile proceedings must also be accommodated. Unfortunately, the courthouse has only two secure holding cells, so the majority of in-custody juveniles and adults are held in unsecure waiting areas and public corridors while awaiting trial, creating potential security risks. In addition, the court’s space in the building is overcrowded and has severe seismic, physical, functional, accessibility, and efficiency issues, limiting the Court’s ability to provide adequate access to justice to Los Angeles County residents. Examples include:
What is the plan for the new courthouse?
The New Los Angeles County Eastlake Juvenile Courthouse will include five courtrooms in approximately 58,000 square feet. It will provide basic services not currently offered to county residents due to the limited space in the court’s current, county-owned facility. The new courthouse will include appropriately sized courtrooms, jury deliberation rooms, an adequately sized lobby and queuing area for the clerk’s counter, a self-help center, a children’s waiting room, attorney/client conference rooms, and accessibility. Enhanced security features will include entrance screening of all court users, adequately sized in-custody holding, and improved fire and life safety. The new courthouse will provide a modern, secure facility for juvenile delinquency proceedings.
Was renovation considered before the plan to build a new courthouse was decided on?
The Judicial Council evaluated renovation of the Court’s space in the Eastlake Juvenile Courthouse and found that it would not be feasible, due to the building’s space limitations, security issues, and physical problems. In addition, the County owns the facility, 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 will be composed of community, legal, and government leaders. Judicial Council staff work with the group throughout the project. 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, the current courthouse is expected to be demolished to allow for parking spaces.
Where will the new courthouse be located?
Judicial Council staff are in the site selection process, working closely with the Superior Court and the County to identify a site on County land adjacent to the Juvenile Hall for the new juvenile courthouse. The standard site selection process involves objectively evaluating potential sites and selecting sites that meet agreed-upon criteria for the proposed new courthouse in providing access to justice for residents of Los Angeles 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.
Will an environmental review be completed for the project?
The Judicial Council is the lead agency for the environmental review of new courthouses under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Once site options for this project are selected, Judicial Council staff will determine the nature and level of environmental review required.
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 a “Critical 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 will design the new courthouse?
An architect will be selected through a request for Qualifications and Proposals.
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 be designed to 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 fourth quarter FY 2020-2021; the courthouse is scheduled for completion in fourth quarter FY 2022-2023. This schedule is subject to change.
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