By Joshua H. Silavent
November 6th, 2012 – Piece-by-piece and inch-by-inch the construction of the six-acre, 550,000-square-foot Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse in Downtown Long Beach is moving along. Now 70 percent complete, the building is beginning to take shape as key design elements are put into place.
When finished in September 2013, the superior courthouse – which is being built to LEED-silver certification standards – will entail 31 courtrooms, a jury room with an adjoining terrace, space for California justice agencies, a sally port for secure transport of criminal defendants, detention facilities, a single security entry point for visitors, a secure parking area for judges and walk-up windows for residents to pay parking citations.
There also will be three restaurant concessionaire spaces as part of a 4,500-square-foot food court adjoining the main courthouse building, with access from the street, providing a bit of mixed-use for the downtown residential and business community. In addition, there is one convenience store space in the court building.
According to city and project officials, the current courthouse cannot support increases in services, lacks accessibility requirements and needs security upgrades, all of which the new courthouse entails.
Perhaps the most striking aspects of the new courthouse are the unique design elements used in construction. For example, the courthouse atrium is enclosed on two sides by cable-supported glass walls.
“Transparency was a design goal,” Stephen Reinstein, CEO of Long Beach Judicial Partners, told the Business Journal. He means this both literally and figuratively.
The courthouse is designed in an L-shape, with one section four stories high and another five stories high, surrounding a courtyard. In addition, the atrium ceiling is constructed with ipê wood, a walnut-colored Brazilian hardwood.
Building the new courthouse has supported 450 construction jobs and between 50 and 100 management positions during the life of the project.
Reinstein said it is by far the biggest project he has worked on in his 30 years in the industry. “It’s very exciting because it’s going to be a permanent part of the downtown landscape,” he added.
The $495 million project was spearheaded by a public-private partnership and operates under the principles of Performance-Based Infrastructure (PBI) contracting.
According to the project website, “Under the PBI agreement, the Judicial Council of California (JCC) will own the building and the Superior Court of Los Angeles County will occupy approximately 80 percent of the space. The JCC will pay Long Beach Judicial Partners an annual, performance-based service fee for 35 years. The PBI delivery method will leverage the private sector’s access to financing, technological expertise and management efficiency to quickly provide a high-quality facility that will serve the Superior Court of Los Angeles County.”
Clark Design/Build of California manages the construction while AECOM is the lead architect. Johnson Controls Inc. will manage the maintenance of the courthouse once it is complete.