Duval County Courthouse: Examples of What Money Can Buy

December 26, 2006 9 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

The City of Jacksonville has recently selected the design-build firm, Auchter/Perry McCall to design the first phase of the long delayed Duval County Courthouse project.

An illustration of Calgary, AB's $280 million two block courthouse complex, currently under construction. The first phase will include a 388,000 square foot, criminal courts structure, estimated to cost $140 million. Construction is anticipated to begin in the fall of 2007. Lets hope that the team of Auchter/Perry McCall has enough design skill and talent to come up with a master site plan and courthouse layout that works for both the courthouse complex and downtown's redevelopment. In the spirit of getting rid of the CBD's largest crater, the following courthouse projects are examples of what type of county courthouse buildings money can buy in the era of rapidly rising construction prices.

 Phoenix Municipal Courthouse – Phoenix, AZ

Gross Floor Area: 375,000 square feet; 10 stories; 161 feet tall)

Construction Costs: $77,800,000

Completion Date: 1999

Architect of Record: Daniel, Manning, Johnson and Mendenhall

The Phoenix Municipal Courthouse was opened to the public on December 27, 1999. It was designed and constructed to provide attractive, comfortable, efficient space with the flexibility to meet the city's future criminal justice needs. The Courthouse houses 590 employees who work in the Municipal Court, Prosecutor's Office, Public Defender and Police Department.

The construction of the new courthouse was authorized by the City Council in December 1995, with a fall 1999 completion date. In conjunction with the construction of the courthouse, the project included the structural and exterior renovation of the historic Walker Building on the same site. The total project budget of approximately $77.8 million was funded with city of Phoenix Civic Improvement Corporation Excise Tax Revenue Bonds and 1988 Historic Preservation General Obligation Bonds.

An estimated $900,000 in construction costs were avoided by connecting the courthouse to the City's underground chiller system that now serves 6 downtown buildings. An estimated $90,000 in annual electricity costs were also saved by this approach to cooling.




Scott M. Matheson Courthouse – Salt Lake City

Gross Floor Area: 420,000 square feet; 7 stories

Construction Costs: $115,500,000

Completion Date: 2005

Architect of Record: HOK

This seven story structure houses 37 courtrooms, a four-story glass rotunda, a two-story common gallery area, and is one of the largest public buildings in the State of Utah.




Clark County Regional Justice Center – Las Vegas, NV

Gross Floor Area: 700,000 square feet; 18 stories

Construction Costs: $185,000,000 (originally estimated to cost $120,000,000).

Completion Date: 2004

Architect of Record: Tate Snyder Kimsey Architects

The Regional Justice Center contains 700,000 square feet of space to house four different court systems: Municipal, Justice, District, and Supreme. The eighteen-story concrete structure is surrounded by a five-story volume to help make the scale more context friendly. A light-filled, canyon-like space runs through this volume and terminates at the main entrance, which is elevated and features a civic plaza that reflects traditional courthouse design. Unfortunately, the RJC has been plagued by construction problems. This building won an AIA Nevada Design Award in 1999.




Harris County Civil Justice Center – Houston, TX (right)

Gross Floor Area: 660,000 square feet; 18 stories (378 feet)

Construction Costs: $115,500,000

Completion Date: 2005

Architect of Record: Pierce Goodwin Alexander & Linville

This recently completed 18 story structure includes 37 typical courtrooms, 1 tax courtroonm, 1 ceremonial courtroom and 6 expansion courtrooms, in addition to the District Clerk, County Clerk and Court Administration Offices.

Harris County Criminal Justice Center – Houston, TX (left)

Gross Floor Area: 20 stories

Construction Costs: $95,000,000

Completion Date: 2001

Architect of Record: Pierce Goodwin Alexander and Linville

This 20 story structure is the largest of Houston’s "Courthouse Square" project, which is an attempt to relieve overcrowding at the area’s current facilities, caused by a rapidly increasing population.

Total construction costs for Civil and Criminal Courthouse Towers: $210,500,000




Calgary Courthouse – Calgary, AB

Gross Floor Area: 1,200,000 Square feet

Construction Costs: $280 million

Completion Date: 2006

The Project is a competition-winning design for a $280 million development which will be the largest consolidated Judicial complex in North America. Two towers flank a soaring 30-story atrium to create a landmark building for the Provincial Court, Court of Queens Bench and the Court of Appeal. This multi-level complex includes 90 Courts, extensive Judicial Chambers, rehabilitation of an existing heritage building and the creation of new urban park. NORR is working in association with Carlos Ott, Design Consultant Architect of Record for this project is Kasian Kennedy Architects.