[Calif. Courts] – The California judiciary’s Court Facilities Advisory Committee voted Thrusday to recommend to the Judicial Council that all 23 current judicial branch projects continue based on the general criteria of working with available funding, not incurring additional costs, or wasting funds.
Projects would be grouped into four broad categories that would determine how far an individual project can proceed until adequate funding is restored.
The proposed categories are “Currently Under Construction,” “Acquisitions,” “Ongoing Design Work,” and “2016/17 Construction Awards” that would determine how far forward a project would proceed. The projects were grouped as follows:
1. Projects Currently Under Construction – Recommendation: Complete Construction
* Santa Clara Superior Court – New Santa Clara Family Justice Center
* San Joaquin Superior Court – Stockton Courthouse
* San Diego Superior Court – Central Courthouse
* Alameda Superior Court – East County Hall of Justice, Dublin
* Tehama Superior Court – Red Bluff Courthouse
* Merced Superior Court – New Los Banos Courthouse
2. Acquisitions – Recommendation: Complete site due diligence, then hold
* El Dorado Superior Court – New Placerville Courthouse
* Inyo Superior Court – Inyo County Courthouse
* Los Angeles Superior Court – New Eastlake Juvenile Courthouse
* Mendocino Superior Court – New Ukiah Courthouse (continue with second half of Acquisition, then hold)
3. Ongoing Design Work – Recommendation: Complete current phase of design, then hold
* Riverside Superior Court – New Mid-County Civil Courthouse (Preliminary Plans)
* Sacramento Superior Court – New Sacramento Criminal Courthouse (Preliminary Plans)
* Sonoma Superior Court – New Santa Rosa Criminal Courthouse (Preliminary Plans)
* Stanislaus Superior Court – New Modesto Courthouse (Preliminary Plans)
* Lake Superior Court – New Lakeport Courthouse (Working Drawings: Complete study for budget review; Court Facilities Advisory Committee to consider recommending restarting after budget review)
* Santa Barbara Superior Court – Santa Barbara Criminal Courthouse (Preliminary Plans: Complete study for budget review; Court Facilities Advisory Committee to consider recommending restarting after budget review)
* Los Angeles Superior Court – New Los Angeles Mental Health Courthouse (Prepare Design-Build Request for Qualifications/Request for Proposals package)
4. 2016/17 Construction Starts – Recommendation: Obtain final approvals, then hold
* Siskiyou Superior Court – New Yreka Courthouse (Has approvals – hold)
* Imperial Superior Court – New El Centro Courthouse
* Riverside Superior Court – New Indio Juvenile and Family Courthouse
* Shasta Superior Court – New Redding Courthouse
* Tuolumne Superior Court – New Sonora Courthouse
* Glenn Superior Court – Willows Courthouse Renovation/Expansion
Approximately $1.4 billion was redirected, borrowed, shifted, and transferred from the Immediate and Critical Needs Account, and $250 million of annual funds in the construction account—$110 million (almost 45 percent)—has been permanently redirected to other purposes that were never part of the original plan to replace the most immediate and critical courthouses,” according to Presiding Justice Brad Hill, Chair of the facilities committee. “We are trying to replace facilities that have severe security, seismic, ADA, space and other deficiencies. This is a matter of providing the public and all court users with safe and secure courthouses to access justice. Tens of thousands of Californians visit our courthouses on a daily basis—they deserve nothing less.”
Sixteen local courts gave presentations to the Judicial Council Court Facilities Advisory Committee in an effort to preserve their local “immediate and critical need” courthouse projects, and to advocate for adequate funding for safe and secure courthouses statewide.
Construction fund redirections during the state’s fiscal crisis and a decline in funds from reduced filings have dramatically cut the funds available for the bonds needed to replace unsafe and substandard facilities and build court facilities that serve the needs of all court users.
The next steps for the committee will involve preparing a report for the Judicial Council’s August 25-26 Meeting, and continuing funding advocacy efforts on behalf of the judicial branch and local courts and justice system partners with the Legislature.