Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona on May 5, 2002 · Page 23
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Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona · Page 23

Phoenix, Arizona
Issue Date:
Sunday, May 5, 2002
Page 23
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The Arizona Republic SUNDAY, MAY 5, 2002 A23 Sandra Day O'Connor United States Courthouse The building is named in honor of Sandra Day O'Connor, an Arizonan who became the first female associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. The U.S. courthouse in Phoenix opened a year ago, 17 months late and $16.1 million over budget. It contributed to a nationwide pattern of cost overruns and missed deadlines in a $9 billion program to build 160 courthouses and additions by 2010. B 17 conventional She was nominated by President Reagan in 1981. Jon Kamman Republic writer Mark Waters Republic artist courtrooms, expandable to 22 on upper levels Roof of skylights Whal $127n2 milon bought -. w- '"V on upper levels . . u Z " What you got B 571,000-square-foot building with 350,000 square feet of working space. B Six floors of offices and courtrooms. B A sophisticated security system. B State-of-the-art audio, video and digital technologies in all courtrooms. B A giant atrium, a public space that is hot in the summer and cold in the winter. B A $16.1 million cost overrun and 17-month completion delay. What you didn't get B A planned day-care center. B Public parking on the site. B Irj house U.S. Attorney's Office. You'll find prosecutors in leased offices four blocks away. B Bullet-resistant glass to provide extra safety on the ground floor. Appeals court udges' chambers, West wing houses appellate judges, court library, cafeteria. rJ, -o X--'-.j -.-. ! B Fitness center for rm I s s . ; -1ft n u i m i r-ES"1 HTl use by all building M J - ' ft i, , Building height t , UHm 'nts s pr!?eCa , ' f J 1 1 - 134 feet ' ;..81 p,, J . i feedings ' m, (equivalentto f, i ; i; JRr H"! . . g , CoTtrootl, I ' J 12-story building) K J, lv M I ,; T-- H -.-" " j I ! ! - !! ! ,' ' Pol 1 U-S Um Courtroom , f . 1 v , it m, Only 'security lit - -.1 grease ; ; . L public U ichecli-in , . . . "",- f "" , aa 1 V 1 entrance i-l I ', " jury assembly area l . . . ' 1 X . .-- .minim"' w Court clerk's offices, files B Secured underground parking for 211 vehicles B Basement contains an ultra-secure four-lane firing range for U.S. marshals and other federal employees. B The Special Proceedings Courtroom's $1 million glass ceiling, an arl-in architecture feature, is locked away from public view much of the time. Million-dollar ceiling The suspended glass ceiling cost $1 million to design and build. It costs about $4,000 to clean. Window washers crawl across the top of the laminated glass in stocking feet and clean with towels and window spray. B SIXTH i'l FIFTH syS fTJ third hZ: FIRST f t "'"''- - Atrium 1' 9 Office space provided for, among others: 6 appellate court judges Pre-trial services Probation offices Public Health Service Republican Congressman Bob Stump General Services Administration B 2 Grand jury rooms 1 18 courtrooms with 17 chambers: 1 Special Proceedings Courtroom 13 District Courts (3 for visiting judges) 4 Magistrate Courts Expansion room: Five additional courtrooms and chambers can be created by converting office space. Building's $16.1 million cost overrun Extra spending came during and after construction. In millions of dollars Congress budgeted Purpose Project spent $3.2 7.0 5.6 95.3 Site acquisition (but land donated later) Design and review Management and inspection Estimated construction cost, including insurance, contingencies, artwork Winning bid, NOT including insurance, contingencies, artwork - Government-purchased insurance ; Contingency fund forexpectedchanges Art object (glass ceiling) City traffic light construction $9.1 1 7.3 84.7 1.9 4.2 1.0 0.2 (Less funds provided by other agjncies) -0.6 $111.1 TOTAL SUBTOTAL $107.8 Potential savings from appropriation, butused for construction costs 3.3 Costs beyond initial authorization 3.0 Post-construction claims paid ' 10.1 Additional work, revisions performed .' by other contractors 3.0 SUBTOTAL. EXTRA COSTS $19.4 TOTAL PROJECT COSTS $127.2 (Less congressional authorization) -$111.1 COSTS ABOVE AUTHORIZATION $16.1 ( - lOOfeetin ' n diameter , (L,,..v,..... . . , j Jury box f fAmgre wooc Iw u)uriroom uun jfJJL Panelin8 l I . deputy clerk j reporterj,1, . it i fJ M if . t j . I 'j Counsel n Js Spectators 100-foot tall glass cylinder The courtroom is used for swearing in American citizens, ceremonial proceedings and occasional appeals hearings. It also will be used for large and high-profile trials. Entrance Sources: General Services Administration: District Court Clerk's Office; start researcn Construction facts Site size: The courthouse complex occupies nearly 5 acres, or 2 square blocks. Site costs: The government purchased the land from Phoenix for $1. Court ceiling heights: Special Proceedings Courtroom, 18 plus feet; others, 16 feet. Designed by: New York architect Richard Meier & Partners and Langdon Wilson Architecture of Phoenix. General contractor: Dick Corp. of Pittsburgh. Number of stories: 6 plus basement. .JI Van Buren St. State Capitol .... Washington St. ,. Jefferson St ' Map area j: Arizona ii 4 Center l! . v . . . .. . .S'..-..- Ji li i "3 ii i ' ' Civic !i ;:v:jif. iiLji..,, .j! -, -- Buckeye Rd. ! Ii Ii es within theater of operations Justice bust! By Jon Kamman The Arizona Republic Beneath the quietude of six floors of offices and courtrooms, semiautomatic gunfire explodes in the basement. It's U.S. marshals and probation officers honing their marksmanship in an ultrase-cure, four-lane firing range. Meanwhile, anyone who works in the new federal courthouse building can keep in shape with free workouts in a well-equipped fitness center next to the cafeteria on the second floor. All 10 active federal district judges and four magistrate judges have their own courtroom, leaving three more courtrooms available for periodic use by visiting judges. Congress was told that an 18th courtroom, the elegant Special Proceedings Courtroom, also known as the Ceremonial Courtroom, would be shared by three Phoenix-based judges of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. But in reality they hear cases in other cities. A larger panel of appellate judges has used the courtroom once since it opened a year ago. Otherwise, the room is used mostly for weekly naturalization ceremonies and occasional swearing-in ceremonies for judges. The courtroom, the largest in the building, has yet to host its first trial. Eventually, it will be used for cases of high notoriety or trials involving multiple defendants. Security is tight but scarcely visible throughout the building. Video cameras monitor activities inside and out. Two elevators rising from the guarded underground parking garage are for the exclusive use of judges. Prisoners are driven through a bunkerlike entry-way and moved to a cellblock on the second floor. From there, they ride one of three isolated elevators that open directly into other holding cells next to courtrooms. "It's a very complicated building, sort of like a hospital," U.S. District Judge Robert It's a very complicated building, sort of like a hospital. Robert Broomfield U.S. District Court judge Broomfield says. As the operating theater for justice, the Sandra Day O'Connor U.S. Courthouse cannot be compared in cost or function to a city hall, legislative chamber or corporate office tower. The courthouse and its concrete plaza occupy nearly S acres, or 2 square blocks from Fourth to Sixth avenues between Washington and Jefferson streets. Congress appropriated $3.2 million to buy a different parcel, but the city later donated the site. The appropriation was used for site preparation and building costs. In 1994, Congress authorized spending up to $11 1.1 million for the project, which ended up costing taxpayers $127.2 million. The building was designed by New York architect Richard Meier & Partners in collaboration with Langdon Wilson Architecture of Phoenix. It has won design awards from the government and architectural profession. The signature feature and most controversial element of its Modernist design is a 50,000-square-foot glass atrium nearly as large as a football field. The area is cooled only by an evaporative misting system and relies on sunshine for heat in winter. The working part of the building, about 346,000 square feet, is conventionally air-con ditioned. Because design guidelines call for 16-foot ceilings in courtrooms, the six-story building (plus basement) rises 134 feet, or about the height of a typical 12-story office building. The general contractor, Dick Corp. of Pittsburgh, was awarded an $84.7 million contract in August 1997. Completion was projected for December 1999, but construction, some by other contractors, continued 17 months longer. The unfinished structure, with only the fourth floor occupied, was dedicated in October 2000. "This building should give the visitor the impression of openness, of access to justice, of a tranquil space in which to resolve the sometimes very difficult issues in our courts," said O'Connor, an Arizonan and the first woman named to the U.S. Supreme Court. In May 2001, the courts, U.S. Marshals Service and other agencies moved in. The building provides 17 conventional courtrooms. One each is assigned to 10 full-time or semiretired District Court judges, and to four magistrate judges. The remaining three courtrooms are available for visiting judges. Office space can be converted to five more courtrooms as the need arises. Offices also are provided for four Phoenix-based judges of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and two visiting appellate judges. A number of federal agencies occupy the rest of the building. No public parking is provided, although Congress had been told it was part of the plan. The building wound up with 215 underground parking spaces instead of 120 listed in the prospectus, and 51 outside spaces, all reserved, instead of 260. The small parking lot someday will provide space for an addition foreseen in long-range plans.

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