Lori Fowler, Staff Writer
Posted: 01/04/2013 05:47:22 PM PST
SAN BERNARDINO – Despite major state cuts to court funds, construction of the new downtown court building is moving along smoothly and is on target for completion in spring 2014, a state official said.
The estimated $339 million project, an 11-story building with more than 30 courtrooms, broke ground in late 2011 – just before massive state budget cuts that laid off employees and closed two San Bernardino County courthouses.
The new courthouse is being built on donated city land. Officials were able
Construction continues at the San Bernardino Justice Center building in downtown San Bernardino. (Rachel Luna/Staff Photographer)
to begin construction after the state Treasurer’s Office sold a lease-revenue bond, which generated $304.7million for the project.
The county also contributed to costs for the project.
“Most of the funding came from state court construction funds,” which were before the state cuts, said Teresa Ruano, spokeswoman for the state Administrative Office of the Courts. “Once a project has been bond funded, the project can proceed. State cuts would not have affected it.”
The project, which has been in development since 2007, was initially pushed back for a time period due to budget issues.
“It was originally slated for a spring bond sale, but it had to be pushed back to the fall (fiscal year 2011-12) because the budget had not been resolved that year,” Ruano said.
But workers are still planning for the building to be completed in the spring of 2014.
State and local officials said the courthouse project was billed as a job generator – the construction work force was expected to swell to about 160 daily workers during certain phases.
The new building is going up across the street from the historic Central Courthouse at Third Street and Arrowhead Avenue. And according to funding numbers, it was approved just in the nick of time.
By fiscal year 2013-2014, nearly $1.5 billion originally designated by the Legislature for court construction will have been borrowed, transferred to the state General Fund, or redirected to court operations, Ruano said.
And this year, the Legislature directed that $50 million per year be permanently diverted from court construction to trial court operations.
Read more: http://www.sbsun.com/ci_22314092/despite-state-court-cuts-construction-new-san-bernardino#ixzz2H806NsiR