By Aziza Jackson
ANNISTON, Ala. — The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) recently announced that is has awarded a contract to Birmingham-based BL Harbert International LLC for the design and construction of the new federal courthouse in Anniston.
In addition to BL Harbert International, the design-build team for the federal courthouse includes O’Brien & Gere Engineers, Inc., TAG Architects, and Procon Consulting.
Once built, the courthouse will serve as home to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama and the Bankruptcy Court of Northern Alabama, in addition to providing workspace for the U.S. Marshals Service and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“GSA is excited about providing the federal government a new facility that meets the judiciary’s mission requirements,” said John M. Dennis, acting regional commissioner for GSA’s Public Buildings Service. “We thank the City of Anniston for its ongoing partnership on this project.
Construction of the 63,000 square-foot courthouse is anticipated to begin in the fall of 2019 and will take approximately two years to complete. In total, the project has an authorized budget of $42,575,000, which includes site acquisition, design, construction and other related expenses. Once complete, the new courthouse will include two courtrooms and three judges’ chambers and is expected to achieve LEED Gold certification.
GSA is set to begin work on eight courthouse construction projects identified by the federal Judiciary as their top priorities. GSA’s plan includes $787 million for new construction and $160 million for repairs and alterations to existing facilities.
This investment allows GSA to leverage the resources of our agency, and the federal government, to foster economic development in local communities across the country.
“This investment in our federal courthouses will serve as a catalyst for economic development in these local communities, while addressing the space constraints and security challenges in these aging facilities,” said GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth.
The proposed spending plan will bring new federal courthouses to Nashville, Tenn.; Des Moines, Iowa; Greenville, S.C.; Anniston, Ala.; and San Antonio, Texas. It will also provide for new courthouse annexes in Toledo, Ohio; Charlotte, N.C.; and Savannah, Ga., to go along with renovations of the James M. Ashley and Thomas W.L. Ashley U.S. Courthouse (Toledo), the Charles R. Jonas Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse (Charlotte), and the Tomochichi U.S. Courthouse (Savannah).
“This is a much needed and welcomed step in replacing unsafe, overcrowded and inefficiently designed courthouses,” said James C. Duff, director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. “We are grateful that Congress has appreciated that our judiciary-wide cost containment initiatives have saved money and has also recognized our most serious needs.”
All new courthouse and renovation projects will be completed in accordance with the U.S. Courts Design Guide, meet the 10-year space needs of the court and court-related agencies, and be consistent with the application of courtroom sharing policies.
“The majority of the funded projects have been on the Judiciary’s construction priority list for more than 15 years,” said Judge D. Brooks Smith, chair of the Judiciary’s Space and Facilities Committee. “Working with the GSA, we have planned appropriate facilities that satisfy the housing and security needs of these courts in an innovative and cost-efficient manner.”