Nevada County, New Nevada City Courthouse

Photo coming soon.

The Superior Court of California, County of Nevada - New Nevada City Courthouse project provides a new 6-courtroom courthouse of approximately 77,000 square feet in the city of Nevada City. It includes secured parking for judicial officers and surface parking spaces. The project will require acquisition of a site of approximately 5 acres—see the fact sheet on site selection. It will replace/consolidate the court’s operations and courtrooms currently in the existing Nevada City Courthouse and Courthouse Annex buildings. The project will use the Design-build delivery method.

Gross Square Footage: 77,250
Total Courtrooms: 6
Current Authorized Project Budget: $178,418,000
Criteria Architect: HOK
Design-Build Entity: TBD
Construction Management Agency: TBD
Fund: General Fund

On June 9, 2022, a courthouse planning study was completed. The study was reviewed and discussed by the Judicial Council’s Court Facilities Advisory Committee (CFAC) at its public meeting on June 17, 2022. At that meeting, the CFAC approved study Option 3—for a New Courthouse on a New Site. More information can be found on the planning study’s web page

The Superior Court of Nevada County occupies three buildings in two cities in Nevada County. The court uses a mixed service model with court facilities located in Nevada City and Truckee. In Nevada City, the Nevada City Courthouse and Courthouse Annex serve as the primary court location for court filings and all case types. The one branch court facility, the Truckee Courthouse, is located at the Joseph Government Center in the town of Truckee and serves the eastern portion of the county with all case types except for probate and juvenile dependency. Main administrative functions are housed in Nevada City, the county seat. Nevada County is geologically bisected by the Sierra Nevada mountain range, which presents challenges for access to court services during winter months.

The new courthouse project will replace and consolidate the court’s operations and courtrooms currently in the existing county-owned Nevada City Courthouse and Courthouse Annex buildings. The existing Nevada City Courthouse was constructed in 1864 and remodeled and expanded in 1900 and 1937. In 1964, the Courthouse Annex building was constructed and connected to the courthouse building. Both buildings are inadequate for public service and for the operational needs of the court. The court's current space is unsafe, undersized, substandard, overcrowded, and functionally deficient. Square footage constraints have resulted in many deficiencies including a lack of an entrance lobby, insufficient space for security screening and jury assembly and deliberation, overcrowding of public and staff areas, and no separate paths of circulation for in-custody defendants from the public, jurors, and judges and staff. These deficiencies pose a safety and security risk to all facility users. The project will relieve the current space shortfall, improve security, accessibility, and safety, and allow the court to co-locate functions for operational efficiency.

For this project, acquisition will be required of site of approximately 5 acres in the city of Nevada City.

The New Nevada City Courthouse will accomplish the following immediately needed improvements to the superior court and enhance its ability to serve the public:

  • Provide accessible, safe, efficient, and modernized courthouse to serve all county residents.
  • Enhance the public’s access to justice by relieving the current space shortfall, increasing security, improving operational efficiency and customer service, and replacing inadequate and obsolete court space in Nevada County.
  • Provide court operations in a facility with adequate space for greater functionality than in current conditions, including:
    • Safe and secure internal circulation that maintains separate zones for the public, judicial officers/staff, and in-custody defendants.
    • Secure, dedicated in-custody sally port to the courthouse and secure in-custody holding facilities adequate in number
    • Adequate visitor security screening and queuing in the entrance area.
    • Adequate spaces for jury deliberation and jury assembly with capacity for typical jury pools.
    • Adequately sized public waiting areas.
    • Adequate space for self-help area.
    • Has attorney-client interview rooms.
    • Has ADA accessible spaces.
    • Has infrastructure to accommodate modern technology, particularly in the courtrooms.
    • Facility with dependable physical infrastructure.
  • Improve public safety by replacing court spaces in facilities in poor condition with aging systems and that are not in compliance with contemporary fire and life safety and ADA codes.
  • Remove the existing Nevada City Courthouse (Very High Risk) and Courthouse Annex (Moderate Risk) from court service, which are rated as Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) P-154 seismically deficient buildings.
  • Enhance the public’s access to justice by consolidating court operations into a single building and providing adequate onsite parking for jurors, visitors, and court users.
  • Avoid substantial deferred maintenance and security system refresh expenditures.

This project is in the Immediate Need priority group and consequently is one of the highest priority trial court capital-outlay projects for the judicial branch.

This project is currently in the site acquisition phase and the council concluded its due diligence to identify all viable locations for the new courthouse. This included reaching out to the community via the public information meeting, placing ads in local publications and newsletters, working with a local realtor, and getting input from the local Project Advisory Group, which is made up of members of the Nevada City community. 

Three sites have been shortlisted from fourteen potential locations. At each of these three candidate sites, experts will:

  • Perform preliminary environmental site assessments
  • Identify potential biological, cultural, and tribal cultural considerations
  • Determine the site boundaries, topography, access routes, proximity to justice partners and services, potential flood zones, geological conditions, seismic zones, and other construction issues

Once the above tasks are complete, the local project advisory group will score and rank the sites against the site criteria established in compliance with the site acquisition policy. The findings will be reviewed/analyzed by the Judicial Council, the Superior Court of Nevada County, and the project advisory group to confirm one preferred and one alternate site.

Those two sites will then be presented to the council’s Administrative Director and at a public meeting of the council’s Court Facilities Advisory Committee. The public can provide written or in-person comments at committee meetings—dates and meeting agendas are posted on the committee’s public webpage. The committee will discuss the site options at its meeting and take action to approve site selection if desired.

Once the committee approves the desired site, the Judicial Council will request approval at a public State Public Works Board (SPWB) meeting. If approved, the council will coordinate further analysis of the site, real estate due diligence, and purchase negotiations. Once the terms, conditions, and price are determined, a request to acquire the site will be presented to the SPWB for approval.

Once a site is selected, council staff will also implement CEQA and other environmental regulatory requirements. Public outreach will occur at the commencement of CEQA (Notice of Preparation) and at the publication of the draft CEQA document.

The Performance Criteria phase is estimated to begin in July 2026 and complete in April 2027.

The Design-Build phase—including Construction—is estimated to begin in July 2027 and complete in June 2031.

Images pending development of project design.


Contact Info

Judicial Council of California
Facilities Services

455 Golden Gate Avenue
8th Floor
San Francisco, California