HARRISBURG, Pa. — President Donald Trump’s first full budget proposal for fiscal year 2018 released in May allocated some $137.2 million for a new federal courthouse in Harrisburg. And in July, the U.S. General Services Administration’s (GSA) officially awarded Hill International a contract as the project’s construction manager.
The project has been in the works for years since 2004 until, last fall, Congressman Lou Barletta announced he had secured funding for the project, which was contained in a resolution passed by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Even then, an appropriations bill still needed to be approved by the full House, according to Penn Live, a local news source. President Trump’s proposal prioritizes the project, but even that, doesn’t guarantee funding. Congress is the ultimate one to decide what money will be spent.
Despite the guaranteed funding, the official contract given to Hill International shows that the project is moving forward in its timeline. The project is still in the design phase, with Ennead Architects of New York providing A/E services. These services include revising the former PBS Commissioner’s approved design concept and completing the design services for the new courthouse, and are estimated to be completed in fall 2018, according to the project’s website.
The new courthouse, to be located at 6th and Reily Streets in downtown Harrisburg, will comprise approximately 243,000 square feet. The U.S. Bankruptcy, District and Magistrate Courts; U.S. Court Clerks; U.S. Probation; U.S. Marshals Service; U.S. Attorneys; U.S. Trustees; Federal Public Defender; and GSA will occupy the facility, according to a statement. The facility will feature five District courtrooms, two Magistrate courtrooms and one Bankruptcy courtroom as well as associated supporting spaces such as judges’ chambers, jury deliberation facilities, jury assembly, grand jury suites and holding cells. The building will also provide 42 interior parking spaces.
The main goal of the project is to replace the existing Ronald Reagan Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Harrisburg, which currently does not meet the federal government’s security and expansion requirements. The 1960s-era Reagan Building was initially built with two courtrooms, and then two more courtrooms were added, but those four courtrooms are not enough to accommodate the increasing caseload of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg, according to the project’s website.