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Short-list released for court architect

Development: New, bigger Santa Clarita Valley courthouse may be built as soon as 2014

Posted: May 18, 2010 9:44 p.m.
Updated: May 19, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 

When the shovel goes into the ground to build Santa Clarita’s new courthouse, the tool will belong to one of a half-dozen architectural firms shortlisted by state officials this week.

Santa Clarita Valley residents can’t expect to see a new courthouse until at least 2014, but they can scrutinize a list of architects selected by the Administrative Office of the Courts.

The one picked to build the courthouse may be announced next month, said AOC spokesman Teresa Ruano.

“The AOC continues to do due diligence on all site options and to meet with the court, the city, and the county of the possible sites,” she said.

This summer, the agency will submit preferred and alternate site selections to the California Public Works Board for approval.

Asked which of the architects impressed the AOC most as a front-runner, Ruano said she could not comment on that.

Once an architect is picked, the AOC has to decide on the right site on which to build the courthouse.

Last year, in May 2009, the city of Santa Clarita passed a resolution to donate 7 acres on Golden Valley Road.

Although the address has yet to be set, it would be near 26201 Golden Valley Road, where there is currently a fire station.

Los Angeles County has also proposed several possible sites for donation for the project but has not finalized its offer. Topping its list of possible courthouse sites is a spot near Pitchess Detention Center.

“For almost 10 years, Supervisor (Michael) Antonovich has strongly believed that Santa Clarita Valley deserves a new and bigger courthouse because of its huge growth,” said Anna Pembedjian, the supervisor’s justice deputy.

The AOC schedule calls for finalizing the site acquisition for the new Santa Clarita Valley courthouse next year.

On Tuesday, the State Public Works Board authorized initial funding to replace two aging courthouses: The New Los Angeles Eastlake Juvenile Courthouse built in 1954 and the Los Angeles Mental Health Courthouse built in the ’30s.

In a press release describing the “critical need” for renovating and replacing old courthouses, Chief Justice Ronald M. George said: “Strengthening the physical foundation of our judicial system is more than a metaphor. Courthouses are as vital a part of California’s infrastructure as bridges, highways and water systems.”

 

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