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Courthouse project moves forward
New facility will have 26 courtrooms
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A downtown Modesto site already chosen as the optimal site for the future home of the Stanislaus County courthouse has received the approval of the Court Facilities Advisory Committee at a town hall meeting held Wednesday in San Francisco.

The committee voted to endorse a directive from its cost reduction subcommittee to continue negotiations on the preferred site on 10 Street. The unanimous vote came after the committee heard from interested parties both for and against the 10th Street site and after they met in closed session.

"This is an extremely important process," said Justice Brad Hill, the presiding administrative justice on the committee. "We want to make sure we get it right. We have changed circumstances because of updated appraisals for the 10th Street site in downtown Modesto, and it's important that we hear from everyone concerned."

The preferred site-also known as the 10th Street site-totals approximately 2.75 acres, including the city block bounded by G and H Streets and 9th and 10th Streets in downtown Modesto. Portions of the 8-parcel site are owned by the City of Modesto; other parcels are privately owned. The site was chosen for its freeway access, proximity to the downtown business district, access to public transportation and parking, and as part of the city's plan to revitalize downtown Modesto. Another property bounded by H and I Streets and 13th and 14th Streets was approved as an alternate site should negotiations for the preferred site fall through.

The vote was a disappointment to some Modesto community leaders and activists who had advocated for a more centralized location on I Street, between 13th and 14th streets.

The new courthouse will have 26 courtrooms in approximately 300,000 square feet of space, consolidating court operations from the seven existing facilities. It will provide adequate space for court services, administration, security operations, and a holding area with a secure area for the transportation of in-custody detainees.

The Superior Court of Stanislaus County currently serves residents through separate facilities located throughout downtown Modesto, including the Modesto courthouse, the adjacent Hall of Records, and three leased facilities.