The Southern California architecture firm of Moore Ruble Yudell has been selected to design the new Santa Barbara Criminal Courthouse, the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) announced today. The proposed project, which is in the site selection phase, will provide a new 8-courtroom, 97,000 square foot building to consolidate criminal and traffic court operations from three buildings into one facility. The proposed courthouse would relieve the historic Anacapa courthouse of criminal proceedings and replace the Figueroa courthouse and Jury Services building, which are overcrowded and have severe security issues and many physical deficiencies.

Presiding Judge Brian Hill and Court Executive Officer Gary Blair of the Superior Court of Santa Barbara County participated in interviews of the competing architectural firms. “We are very pleased with the selection of Moore Ruble Yudell, which is based in nearby Santa Monica,” said Judge Hill. “We believe that this firm has done outstanding work on numerous projects, including the new Federal Courthouse in Fresno. We are confident that they will be especially sensitive to the needs and architectural heritage of our beautiful Santa Barbara community, which is well-known throughout California and our nation.”

This project was ranked as an “immediate need” in the judicial branch’s capital-outlay plan, placing it in the highest-priority category for judicial branch building projects. Once engaged, the architecture team can begin preliminary space programming, but architectural design must wait until a site is selected and acquisition is approved by the State Public Works Board. Site selection and acquisition typically take a year or more. The entire project, including construction, is scheduled for completion in late 2015.

Santa Monica-based Moore Ruble Yudell has more than 30 years experience, including many notable civic and cultural buildings not only in California, but also nationally and internationally. Recipient of the American Institute of Architect’s prestigious Architecture Firm Award in 2006, the firm’s award-winning work includes the Robert E. Coyle Federal Courthouse in Fresno, the Darling Law Library at UCLA, a new public library and parking structure in Santa Monica, the Center for the Arts in Escondido, and the United States Embassy in Berlin, Germany. The firm is already engaged with the AOC to design the new Santa Clarita Courthouse in Los Angeles.

The new Santa Barbara Criminal courthouse is among 41 high-priority court projects funded by Senate Bill 1407, which finances critically needed courthouse construction, renovation, and repair. The funding sources include judicial branch fees, penalties, and assessments, without reliance on taxpayer dollars from the state’s General Fund. To date, 36 architectural firms have been selected or hired for trial court capital projects in the AOC’s courthouse construction program. The overall program is an economic stimulus to local communities that will create thousands of additional jobs throughout California as the projects proceed through design and construction over the next five years.

More information about the project is on the California Courts website at


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