court ceremony, 3/13/13

California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye speaks on the steps of the old county courthouse during a groundbreaking ceremony for the building's renovation, Wednesday afternoon in downtown Fairfield. (Brad Zweerink/Daily Republic)


Judiciary, leaders celebrate start of courthouse project

By From page A1 | March 14, 2013

FAIRFIELD — It was a groundbreaking ceremony in which no ground was broken.

Large on symbolism and history, the leaders of the Solano County judiciary convened Wednesday with other local political leaders and the chief justice of the California Supreme Court on the steps of the old Texas Street courthouse to commemorate the start of a $27.5 million project that will add three new courtrooms to the 25 other courtrooms in the county.

The event comes about a year since Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening in March 2012 of two new courtrooms, staff offices and file storage space, altogether costing $4.8 million.

The renovation to the century-old court building will restore the historic building with complete seismic, mechanical, electrical, life safety, plumbing, telecommunications and accessibility upgrades.

Renovation plans were designed by the San Francisco-based architectural firm of Hornberger + Worstell, whose other projects have included the grand Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park and private Olympic Club in San Francisco, according to Presiding Judge Paul L. Beeman, who served as emcee the groundbreaking event.

Chairwoman of the Solano County Board of Supervisors, Linda Seifert, a lawyer, quoted Winston Churchill, who said, “We shape our buildings and thereafter they shape us.”

Assemblyman Jim Frazier declared the groundbreaking “an exciting moment for Fairfield and for Solano County.”

State Sen. Lois Wolk gave a special thank you to Cantil-Sakauye for her support for the project.

State Sen. Noreen Evans reminded those in attendance that courthouses have long served as “the hearts of our communities.” She said the courthouse was “a symbol of a lot more than an old building.”

Cantil-Sakauye referred to courthouses as “temples of justice” and described the project as monumental.

The ceremony culminated more than 11 years of planning for renovations.

Designed by architect E.C. Hemmings, the historic courthouse is considered an outstanding example of Beaux Arts architecture, with its flat roof and expansive exterior colonnades. The 1911 building served as a functioning courthouse until the 1970s, but has been vacant since 2005.

Completion is scheduled for summer 2014, after which the new courtrooms will be used for civil lawsuits.

For more information, visit the California court’s website at www.courts.ca.gov/facilities-solano.htm.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.

Discussion | 7 comments

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  • BlndiMarch 14, 2013 - 3:52 am

    Hopefully this means that being a Fairfield resident I won't receive jury summons for Vallejo anymore.

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  • InterestingMarch 14, 2013 - 7:19 am

    Spending $27.5 million renovating a building and still having shorter hours at the courhouse, furloughs and pending layoffs....who will these new courthouses serve when there are no employees?

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  • George Guynn, JrMarch 14, 2013 - 12:08 pm

    How come the Courts and DMV can waste $2 BILLION on a computer system that will never ever work,no one goes to jail, and yet the public still has to pay $27.5 million more for a building upgrade/expansion, when the present employees are not working full-time with furrow days? How about the chain gang and bread and water for those responsible for this waste?

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  • A Different PerspectiveMarch 14, 2013 - 4:01 pm

    Exactly what law did they break? Last time I checked, bad decision making isn't illegal. But I do feel bad for those that have been "furrowed!"

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  • Danny BuntinMarch 14, 2013 - 3:22 pm

    Kind of frustrating. You look at our schools, compared to the School district building - and you can do nothing but scratch your head.

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  • George Guynn, JrMarch 15, 2013 - 11:41 am

    A different Perspective, very bad decisions may not be illegal, but where is the justice for the taxpaying public? Letting it go means more bad decisions to come! Danny Buntin, agreed, the people running the district have their priorities backwards. I have complained about it many times and the board just looks at me and says nothing.

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  • A Different PerspectiveMarch 15, 2013 - 11:54 am

    Ok... so we've established that we can't lock them up. The accountability lies in two places. First, with the contractor (HP) for not producing according to the contract. There's recourse by negotiation and/or in the courts. Second, is state employees who may have made poor decisions or failed to provide the appropriate oversight of the contractor. They can be reprimanded up to and including termination.

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