Thursday, April 3, 2008

New Courthouse

I think this has the potential to be a win/win situation for everyone involved.

It makes much sense to have the Federal Courthouse in close proximity to the State and County Courthouses, if moved to the proposed location it will be only a block and a half away.

The city can, IMHO, move the new Police Headquarters to a site near the current city municipal courts and in close proximity to UTSA downtown. This would bring some more activity and a strong presence on the near westside of the city which has been woefully lacking.

Just don't make it look like this design being used in Salt Lake City.

Federal courthouse put on fast track
Graeme ZielinskiExpress-News

Federal and city officials Wednesday announced admittedly ambitious plans: Erect a new $100 million San Antonio police and fire headquarters by 2010 on newly acquired land, raze the existing police headquarters shortly thereafter, and have a new U.S. courthouse up and running on the former police property by 2012.

"It's all subject to change," of course, said Scott Armey, the regional administrator for the federal landlord agency, the General Services Administration (GSA), acknowledging the vagaries of big-ticket building projects.

Wednesday's announcement that the GSA had picked the seven acres on Nueva Street that now houses SAPD headquarters as its preferred place to build a new federal courthouse was a major step forward in an effort that has languished.

"It's been a long process to get to this point," Armey said at a news conference on the steps of the current federal courthouse on Durango Boulevard, noting a search that began around 2000 and was interrupted by a three-year moratorium on new courthouse projects.

"It's ambitious," said Deputy City Manager Pat DiGiovanni of the accelerated timeline.
Armey said he hoped to have a deal inked with the city within six months — DiGiovanni said it could come even sooner.

The package meets several corresponding pressures, including overcrowding at the federal courthouse, what Police Chief William McManus called a technologically "antiquated" police headquarters and the desire by the city to revitalize both the west side of downtown and bring people back to HemisFair Park.

The money already appropriated for the federal courthouse won't even account for design plans, so it will be some time until the new look is known for either of the new buildings.
It is unclear where the city will get the funds for the new police and fire headquarters.
U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez, the judiciary's point man for the project, said aesthetics would be a factor.

"The federal courthouse in every city ... is the predominant physical presence of the U.S. government," he said, and the new building should reflect that, San Antonio's Mexican and Spanish heritage, as well as a sense of the "majesty of the law."

DiGiovanni said the city had reached a tentative agreement on buying new land for the new "public safety campus," though nothing had been finalized. He declined to comment on reports that it would be on the former site of a K-Mart on South Santa Rosa, though he did say it would be downtown.

Rodriguez, a San Antonio native who remembered coming to the courthouse in its previous incarnation as a child, said he did not know whether the new courthouse would also bear the name of slain U.S. District Judge John H. Wood Jr., noting that power was reserved for Congress.
"It will not be called the Judge Rodriguez Courthouse," he allowed.