The State of California Judicial Council, Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) is pursuing the construction of a new courthouse in Modesto for the Superior Court of Stanislaus County (Modesto Courthouse Project). The preferred site is located in Downtown Modesto in the city block bounded by G and H Streets and 9th and 10th Streets (the 10th Street Site). The new courthouse serves a critical purpose of serving the public with a modern, secure, integrated, and efficient court facility in downtown Modesto. The proposed new courthouse is close to 300,000 square feet, will have 26 courtrooms, and will replace seven facilities.
The estimated cost is $278 million. In 2008, the California Legislature enacted SB 1407 to create sources of revenue to fund the construction of new courthouses throughout the State.
The Judicial Council of the Courts, as policy maker of the court system, is delegated the authority to identify and prioritize courthouse replacement based on need. The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) is the staff agency of the Judicial Council assigned to manage real estate, new court construction, renovation, operation, and maintenance for trial and appellate courts statewide. This delegation of authority includes the responsibility for site selection for new courthouse projects, including the new Modesto Courthouse Project.
Timeline of Events
The following is a time line summary relevant to the new Modesto Courthouse Project process:
- In July 2010, the State Public Works Board (SPWB) approved the new Modesto Courthouse for initial funding authorized by SB 1407 and ranked the project in the immediate need category.
- In November 2010, the AOC and the Superior Court of Stanislaus County named a project advisory group for the new Modesto Courthouse. This group was responsible for providing advice and input for site selection and design and included judges, staff and the Executive Officer of the Superior Court; a Chief Deputy District Attorney; Chief Deputy Public Defender; Court Services and Civil Division Commander of the Stanislaus County Sheriff; Chief Operations Officer of the County of Stanislaus; Director of Community & Economic Development and staff from the City of Modesto; an attorney representing the local bar association; a representative of the Modesto Chamber of Commerce; and two project managers from the AOC.
- In December 2011, the SPWB approved the 10th Street Site as a potential site for the new courthouse.
- In February 2012, the SPWB approved an additional site being the city block bounded by H and I Streets and 13th and 14th Streets (I Street Site), as a potential site for the new courthouse.
- In 2011, the State/AOC had all 10th Street Site parcels appraised to determine their fair market value.
- In 2012/2013 funds intended for the courthouse replacement projects were reallocated to the state general fund resulting in delays and decreased funds available for the approved projects.
- In May 2013, the Courthouse Cost Reduction Subcommittee directed the AOC project team to negotiate for acquisition of the 10th Street Site.
- In 2013, the State/AOC had the private parcels re-appraised to determine their fair market values.
- In June 2013, the AOC informed the City of its interest in acquiring the property comprising of the 10th Street Site.
- In November 2013, the Administrative Director of the Courts reviewed the site selection process for the new Modesto Courthouse Project and concluded (1) the selection site policy was followed and (2) based on merits the 10th Street Site was properly identified as the preferred site and that the I Street Site was properly identified as the alternate site.
- In a public meeting held March 12, 2014, the Court Facilities Advisory Committee voted to endorse a directive from its Cost Reduction Subcommittee to continue negotiations on the preferred site for the new Modesto Courthouse to be constructed on 10th Street.
Documents and Resources:
Laurie A. Smith, Business Manager, Community & Economic Development, (209) 571-5566