Wrecking ball aimed at courthouse

GLENDALE— Officials say they are considering demolishing the current Glendale courthouse on Broadway to make way for a new $123.9-million facility, preserving its proximity to City Hall and police headquarters.

If the California State Public Works Board approves the 600 E. Broadway project, it would also likely mean city officials will have to work to accommodate temporary Superior Court operations during the construction, officials said.

Construction crews will demolish most of the existing courthouse, but will preserve key historical elements of the building, Teresa Ruano, a spokeswoman for the Judicial Council of California’s Administrative Office of the Courts, said in an e-mail. The court is still looking at several parking options, she added.

The new 99,552-square-foot, three-story building is slated to be completed by 2015.

City officials had been rallying to keep the new courthouse on the current site to maintain its civic center, which includes City Hall and police headquarters.

“The new court is ideally located at its current location right now,” said Assistant City Manager Yasmin Beers.

Still, the project will bring its own set of challenges.

Ruano said the project budget doesn’t include “swing space” funding to accommodate displaced court operations during construction. To meet the challenge, city officials have proposed allowing some courthouse services and staff to move temporarily into unoccupied space at the Glendale Police Department on Isabel Street.

The Police Department’s community rooms could house two courtrooms while several desks and cubicles would be set aside for court staffers, Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.

And the police jail, equipped with video conferencing, would house inmates and allow them to talk to attorneys without being present in the courtroom, he added.

The city has been working “hand-in-hand” with state court officials for more than a year on the project and finding temporary locations, Beers said.

While no specific plans have been set in stone, she said the city is hoping to provide a smooth transition for the court.

Officials said a site selection plan will be presented to the state Public Works Board in April. If approved, the transition will not likely occurfor more than a year.

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