San Diego

New Modern Courthouse Unveiled as Safer, Urban Facility

The 704,000 square-foot courthouse required a hefty budget of $555 million.

Towering 22 stories over downtown San Diego, the completion of the new San Diego Central Courthouse was celebrated with a ceremony Monday.

The 704,000 square-foot courthouse for the Superior Court of San Diego County includes 71 courtrooms, public services and court support spaces.

The robust building of glass, steel and concrete required a hefty budget of $555 million, making it the most expensive courthouse in California history.

It's a project that has faced delays and funding challenges, previously investigated by NBC 7.

The new building promotes efficiency and enhances access to justice for residents living in the Central San Diego area. Currently, it’s the state judicial branch’s largest construction project.

As part of the new court building, construction crews installed 1,936 fire alarms, 1,270 smoke detectors, 488 surveillance cameras, 11,700 network connections and 205 wireless access points.

This project replaces and combines the County Courthouse, the Family Courthouse and the Madge Bradley Courthouse in downtown San Diego, according to the state.

State officials say the old buildings proved to be unsafe, overcrowded and inadequate for modern court operations. A plan to completely rebuild the courthouse was settled on because the old building was located on an active, seismic fault.

For example, both the County Courthouse and the Family Courthouse were rated as unacceptable seismic risks, according to the state.

Attendees at the event included Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, California Supreme Court and chair of the Judicial Council; San Diego County Presiding Judge Jeffrey Barton and Assistant Presiding Judge Peter Deddeh.

The ceremony was held at the San Diego Central Courthouse, On the 1100 block of Union Street.

Funding for this project was obtained through Senate Bill 1407, ranked as a “Critical Need” in the judicial branch’s capital-outlay plan. It was among the branch’s highest priority infrastructure projects, according to the state.

The courthouse will officially open on July 17. See the project fact sheet, for more information on the new courthouse.

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