$272.9 Million Courthouse Goes for LEED Gold

STOCKTON, Calif. — Local government leaders reviewed the first public presentation of the New Stockton Courthouse at the City Council meeting on Jan. 25, with a presentation by Justice William J. Murray, Jr. of the Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District, and former presiding judge of the Superior Court of San Joaquin County


The first design phase is nearing completion, and construction is set to begin in fall 2012.


The 13-story building, which will be located on city-donated Hunter Square, will be the tallest in Stockton and will house 30 courtrooms, a new jury assembly area, and more space for support services and staff than the current courthouse, which is overcrowded and inadequate, according to a statement from the court.


The current facility, built in 1963, is shared with a county building. Stockton officials say the facility lacks adequate security, is in very poor physical condition, and is overcrowded due to a population increase in the past decade in the nearby communities of Tracy, Manteca, and Lodi.


The new building will include several sustainable features — enough to qualify for LEED Gold, according to the court statement. The design includes natural lighting in all courtrooms and special window coatings to reduce heat gain while letting in daylight.


Photovoltaic panels on the roof will power nighttime lighting, in addition to low-flow plumbing fixtures and drought-tolerant plantings for water conservation. The design also entails high-efficiency heating and cooling that will store ice at night, taking advantage of off-peak power to minimize energy use in the building’s air-conditioning system.


The facility will feature an 80-foot-long art wall with historic scenes from Stockton’s past, and an exterior design of walls made of natural stone.


The courthouse will also have many security improvements over the old building, including a completely separate circulation for the public, staff, and in-custody defendants, the statement said. The new building will also be fully accessible to people with disabilities, unlike the current one.


The new jury area will be an improvement from the “dark, windowless basement assembly area,” with a congregation area on the 12th floor jury assembly room.


Additional features include a west-facing terrace for jurors aimed at providing a comfortable outdoor waiting space with views of the Weber Point Events Center, the Delta, and Mt. Diablo.


The estimated $272.9 million project is being funded by the State Court Facilities Construction Fund — derived from court fees, penalties and assessments rather than the state’s General Fund.


The court expects the project to create hundreds of direct construction jobs and thousands through the indirect impact on the economy, according to the statement.


The architectural firm working on the new courthouse project is NBBJ. Turner Construction Co. will serve as the project’s construction-manager-at-risk and will conduct local outreach to ensure that qualified local subcontractors and suppliers have the opportunity to participate in bidding, which is currently scheduled for summer 2012.