The Santa Barbara Criminal Courthouse is getting a makeover. Thanks to a state senate bill, our Figueroa Street division is getting eight new courtrooms, an additional 97,266 square feet of space, and a plethora of new facilities all costing about $151.98 million.
After the completion of this project, scheduled for 2015, all criminal proceedings will move from the historic main courthouse to the new Figueroa building. This new building will house some basic facilities that the current building is just too small to handle like jury deliberation rooms, a children’s waiting room, and enhanced security features that include entrance screening of all court users, a larger in-custody holding area, and secure parking for judges.
California Senate Bill 1407, passed in 2008, provides up to $5 billion in funding throughout the state for a total of 362 new court rooms at over 40 locations. It will create an estimated 104,132 new jobs, 3,081 of which will include people working on and in our Santa Barbara Criminal Courthouse.
The bill is being funded by hikes in parking fees, bonds specifically for the projects, as well increases in other security and traffic fees. Implementation of the full plan will happen over the next five years, starting off with the sites that need the most work, one being our Figueroa Division.
Also included in the local project proposal is a 240-car parking structure for staff, visitors, and jurors, which it is hoped will alleviate traffic and parking congestion downtown.
Currently the project is in its early stages, but work is moving along. The new glasswork being done for the enhanced security measurers, which screen all court users in one place, wrapped up at the end of the week.