Construction Continues on Nashville Courthouse Project

By CN Staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Construction continues unabated on the new $194.5 million Nashville U.S. Courthouse, known as the Fred D. Thompson U.S. Courthouse and Federal Building.

Last September, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) broke ground on the project dedicating it to late U.S. Senator Fred Thompson.

To date, 95 percent of the facility’s footing and foundation system has been installed. The construction is divided into six sequences with steel erection of sequences A and B complete and sequence C at 40 percent.  Metal decking and concrete slabs are nearing completion on sequences A and B and is starting on sequence C. The casting of the precast panels is well underway, with installation anticipated to begin in August.

Hensel Phelps Construction Company is the general contractor on this design-build project.

The six-story courthouse will be located on three acres on Church Street in downtown Nashville.

Spanning 276,000 square feet and include underground parking, eight courtrooms and 11 judicial chambers.

Fentress Architects, architect of record, worked with Michael Graves Architecture & Design to create a distinctive courthouse that expresses the dignity and transparency of the judicial process.

“Originating from Michael Graves’ Architecture and Design initial design, the new U.S. federal courthouse in Nashville will provide a safe and secure environment, while making it feel accessible to the public,” said Steve White, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Principal and Director of Washington, D.C. at Fentress Architects.  

“Separate zones of security and circulation for different types of users contribute to enhanced security for court personnel and the general public.”

White cited several challenges during the design process.

“First off, the building was designed more than 10 years ago. When we took on the project with Hensel Phelps, we needed to ensure the design was fully compliant with current building, energy, and security codes/criteria established by the federal government. We have spent considerable time with tenant agencies, including U.S. Courts, U.S. Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the GSA, to realize a design that meets their current needs.”

The facades of the entry and public areas of the new courthouse will be glass. The primary facade will be a grand apsidal curved wall with the entry rotunda at its center, establishing a welcoming entry for the public. Celebrating the role of the public in the judicial system, jury suites will be stacked as towers in the exterior massing.

Courts and court-related agencies from the existing facilities located in the Estes Kefauver Federal Building and Annex will be relocated to the new courthouse in an effort to improve efficiency and enhance security for court personnel and the general public.

The Kefauver Federal Building and Annex was constructed in 1948. Occupied in 1952, it is typical of the modern style promoted by GSA at that time.

The new courthouse is slated for completion in summer 2021 and is targeted to meet LEED gold certification and SITES silver certification.