Senator Bob Bennett (R-Utah) announced today that after more than a decade of work, the building permit for the new U.S. District Courthouse has finally been secured, marking the final congressional step needed before construction can take place.
"For over 15 years we've been working to put the funding and legislative pieces in place to build this much-needed courthouse," said Bennett. "Passage of the authorization resolution is the final hurdle for this project and clearing it has been a top priority for me in my final months in office. I am pleased to see the years of hard work on this project have finally paid off for our state."
Bennett guided the authorization resolution for the courthouse through the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee this week, and laid the ground work for its passage today in the House. Obtaining the authorization resolution, which is the legislative approval necessary for construction of the courthouse to begin, marks the final congressional act in the process to construct the new district courthouse in Salt Lake City. For more than a decade Bennett has worked to secure federal funding for the courthouse, including $185.7 million in fiscal 2010.
Final site preparation activities prior to construction on the new courthouse are expected to begin within weeks, and construction of the courthouse will bring an estimated 700 jobs to Utah per year over the next three years.
The expansion project began in May 1992, when the court submitted a formal written request to the General Services Administration. It was initially envisioned as an annex to the historical Moss Courthouse for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and a renovation of the Moss Courthouse for the U.S. District Court. By 1998, the amount of case work increased so drastically that a renovation and annex would not substantially meet the needs of Utahns. Design studies showed that the renovation of the Moss Courthouse was unsuitable for a District Court because of security concerns and would not be big enough to house adequate courtroom sizes. Plans were revised to build a new courthouse entirely.
The new courthouse will be constructed west of the Frank E. Moss Courthouse. Building tenants will include the U.S. District Court, the U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services office, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Tenth Circuit Branch Library, and small trial preparation suites for both the US Attorney's Office and the Federal Public Defender. After the new courthouse is occupied, the existing Frank E. Moss Courthouse will be renovated, and will house the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the U.S. Trustee, and other federal tenants currently in leased space.