Monday, December 12, 2011
State Board Approves Potential Site for New Juvenile Courthouse
By a MetNews Staff Writer
A potential site for a proposed new juvenile courthouse for the Los Angeles Superior Court was approved by the State Public Works Board on Friday.
The privately owned 3.2 acre parcel bounded by Jackson Street, Center Street, and Banning Street was chosen for its proximity to the Santa Ana freeway and its location central to the area to be served by the future courthouse, a spokesperson for the Administrative Office of the Courts said.
She added that the AOC, which is managing the project, expects to submit a second potential site for approval by SPWB sometime next year. Approval of two potential sites is a standard part of the state’s site selection process for courthouse projects, the spokesperson explained.
SPWB approval allows the AOC to undertake further due diligence, an environmental assessment under the California Environmental Quality Act, and negotiations with sellers that will ultimately result in finalization of the site. Site selection and environmental review, as well as site acquisition, which also requires SPWB approval, must be completed before architectural design of the new courthouse can begin.
The proposed 65,500 square-foot building, housing five courtrooms, would replace the current Eastlake Juvenile facility. This facility, which serves approximately 19,500 visitors per month, was built in 1954 and court officials say it contains numerous deficiencies in access, efficiency, security, overcrowding, and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
This project was ranked as a “critical need” in the judicial branch’s capital-outlay plan, making it among the branch’s highest-priority infrastructure projects, and is funded by SB1407, which finances critically needed courthouse construction, renovation, and repair through a portion of judicial branch fees, penalties, and assessments.
Although the state Budget Act for fiscal year 2011-2012 contains significant cuts to the account that funds SB 1407 projects and these cuts may cause delays in SB 1407 projects and project budget reductions, the spokesperson said they are not expected to delay this project’s progress in the current fiscal year.
The AOC and the County of Los Angeles have also been working on developing a cost-sharing agreement that would enable the county to co-locate certain of its court-related functions in the planned juvenile facility and several other courthouse projects the AOC is undertaking in Los Angeles, the spokesperson added.
Site acquisition for this project is currently scheduled to be completed in 2013. The current schedule calls for construction to begin in mid-2015 and be completed in late 2016.
Copyright 2011, Metropolitan News Company