Tahoe City given $27.5 million green light to build new courthouse | SierraSun.com

Tahoe City given $27.5 million green light to build new courthouse

Jason Shueh
Sierra Sun

Jason Shueh/Sierra SunThe current Tahoe City courtroom shown here will be getting a facelift as state officials have approved $27.5 to go to a new 15,000 square foot courthouse.

TAHOE CITY, Calif. and#8212; Placer County has received a $27.5 million go-ahead from state officials to erect a new courthouse to replace the aging one at the Burton Creek site off Highway 28.

The courthouse and#8212; which shares a building with the Placer County Sheriff’s Office jail and the district attorney’s office and#8212; is an and#8220;immediate needand#8221; reconstruction project and has been approved for funding, according to the Judicial Council of California.

The council said the building and#8220;… is severely undersized and overcrowded and has numerous deficiencies in security, access, efficiency, and accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act.and#8221;

and#8220;We’re excited. We all know that we’ve been looking forward to this for a long time and we all want to be a part of the planning,and#8221; said Kim Hunter, courthouse manager.

The new building, which should be built by 2015, will be 15,000 square feet, compared to the current 2,000-square foot courthouse.

Amenities include a self-help center, meeting areas, space for family law mediation and new security improvements, including a single point of entry for screening and holding areas and separate hallways for the public, staff and in-custody defendants.

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Hunter said some jury trials and selections take place at the Kings Beach Events Center for lack of space, and laptops must be used for court recording.

and#8220;Today if were to have an in-custody jury trial, the inmate would have to be transported over to (the events center) where there are no cells, no housing and no detention and#8212; which would require taking additional patrol officers off of the street,and#8221; Hunter said. and#8220;Our ability to service the public and the community is going to be far greater than it is now.and#8221;

Asked how long she’s been waiting for a new courthouse, Hunter chuckled.

and#8220;It goes beyond my time,and#8221; she said.

The State Public Works Board awarded the funding to the courthouse through Senate Bill 1407, which was enacted by the state legislature in 2008 to provide up to $5 billion in funding for critically needed new and renovated court facilities, using court user fees.

As a side benefit, JCC estimates the construction will create hundreds of direct and indirect jobs as it progresses through design, construction and completion phases under the management of the state’s Administrative Office of the Courts.

and#8220;Today marks a positive step toward improving access to our court system for the residents and visitors of the North Tahoe Basin,and#8221; said Presiding Placer County Superior Court Judge Alan Pineschi in a Monday press release. and#8220;Replacing the existing courthouse is long overdue and has been discussed for over twenty years.and#8221;

The facility also will allow Tahoe residents to avoid 80- to 90-mile commutes to Roseville or Auburn in dangerous winter weather conditions.