Plans for the construction of a new Yolo County Superior Courthouse in Woodland have been set in motion. Construction will begin in spring 2013, thanks to combined efforts of Yolo Court officials, state agencies, Woodland City Council and staff, as well as private businesses.
Currently, the courthouse has seven departments spread across Downtown Woodland. The new building will encompass all departments. The five-story, 14-courtroom and 163,000-square-foot building will be located between Fifth and Sixth streets at 1000 Main Street.
“Even with the cost reductions we achieved, this will be a state-of-the-art building that will meet safety, security and access requirements as well as being a building that will have the stature and distinguishing characteristics of a courthouse,” said Steve Basha, Yolo Court’s presiding judge.
A press release stated the project had several rounds of cost cutting before it was finalized. About $9 million was cut from the project’s plan.
Construction was officially approved after the state treasurer finalized a sale of $133.8 million in lease revenue construction bonds. They will be repaid with court user fees and penalties over the next 25 years. State general funds will not be used.
Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig said that the current courthouse building cannot handle the level of cases it receives and does not provide proper safety.
“It’s a historic landmark … but it’s not safe for victims of crime,” Reisig said to the Sacramento Bee. “We move inmates down the hallways. There is no place for victims and witnesses to sit. It’s not safe for the lawyers.”
Architect firms Fentress Architects and Dreyfuss & Blackford of Sacramento headed the project. According to the press release, the building will include many sustainable and energy-saving features to ensure it is economical in the long run.
The next step will involve the project’s construction manager, Hensel Phelps Construction Co., as the project goes to subcontractor bidding.
“I am very pleased with the selection of Hensel Phelps, and we are excited to be working with such a distinguished construction firm,” said Yolo’s Court Executive Officer Jim Perry in a press release. “Hensel Phelps is a local company with offices in West Sacramento. They have history here in Yolo County, and recently built the Yolo County Health Services building in Woodland. The added value of knowing our local contractors and this community is significant.”
City officials said they are eager for construction to begin. The courthouse is expected to be completed by 2015.
PAAYAL ZAVERI can be reached at email@example.com.