Monday, February 2, 2015

New Pima County Consolidated Justice Court Open for Biz

Posted By on Mon, Feb 2, 2015 at 12:35 PM

Pima County has a new courthouse.

The county's Consolidated Justice Court on 240 N. Stone Ave., northwest corner of Stone Avenue and Alameda Street, opened its doors this morning after a small ribbon-cutting ceremony before 8 a.m. It'll house the staff and services from the historic dome on 115 N. Church Ave. and its satellite at 160 N. Stone Ave.

The Maker House peeps were there with their delicious pastries, and there was a tour to show everyone the building and all of its rooms.

From a Pima County press release:
The move will allow all Justice Court services to be in the same location, something that hasn’t happened in 18 years, according to Douglas Kooi, court administrator. But space wasn’t the only reason for the move, he said.

"The original building was not designed with modern security, technology or access in mind,” Kooi said. “This new building lets us use the latest in audio and video technology and presentation equipment, and it is completely accessible to all members of the public. The old building was difficult to navigate, especially for persons with disabilities.”

The dome building will become the temporary home for Pima County’s senior administration and Board of Supervisors while the 10th and 11th floors of Administration East Building, 130 W. Congress St., go through asbestos abatement. Eventually, the County hopes to use the historic dome building as a museum and memorial of the Jan. 8 shooting victims and public response to the event.
The old courthouse was completed in 1929 and it was created by architect Roy Place. 

In place for more than 80 years, the facility was outdated, didn't have many accommodations, and the security wasn't as potent (remember the sole security check lane to get in?). This new building has four security check lanes, a room, referred to as "victim respect room," where victims of domestic violence, for instance, can go in while they wait for their hearing rather than being near their aggressors. (Eventually, they want to put a TV in there, according to Douglas Kooi, the court administrator and who has been working on this project since 1997). There are also attorney/client conference rooms and four jury deliberation rooms.

Security-wise, at the old courthouse, inmates heading to a hearing would have to walk through the public, at the new building, it is built so that inmates are transported directly to their courtroom. 

The Pima County Public Service Center parking garage, on Stone Avenue, will not be completed until around April or beginning of May. There are plans to also build restaurants there. As for the other side, across the street from Solar Culture on Tool Avenue, a park and garden are being built—more than 10,000 plants are expected.

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