Officials break ground on new Kings County courthouse

September 20, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
After concerns of over-crowding and security issues, plans are in place to build a new courthouse in Kings County. The $120 million courthouse is being paid for by court fees. It will sit next to the jail and will be under construction by the end of 2013

Kings County officials and judges from across California gathered to break ground on what will soon be the new site of the Kings County courthouse.

The environmentally-friendly building will feature 12 courtrooms and be energy efficient. The courthouse will have large windows that let in plenty of the Valley's sunshine. Kings County presiding judge Thomas Desantos says a new courthouse is what Kings County has needed for a long time.

"We have on trial days people lined up outside in the parking lot waiting to come in due to security reasons the courtrooms we have now are individual and spread out," Desantos said.

Kings County was bumped up on the state's list of courthouses that needed new facilities because of security issues and the fact that its court services are spread out throughout Hanford, Corcoran and Avenal. The Hanford Courthouse consists of several different buildings to house a couple courtrooms at a time.

"And now this will allow us to close all those and bring them in here and have all the courtrooms under one roof," Desantos said.

Appellate Judge and Chair of the Court Facilities Advisory Committee Brad Hill says Kings County-- while a small county-- can see as big of a caseload as some of the largest counties in the state.

"Because of the number of prisons in Kings County and the writs that come to the Kings County court, their caseload commensurate to that is much higher than Los Angeles, San Francisco or other big court systems," Hill said.

Hanford officials hope the multi-million dollar project- and its construction- bring much needed revenue and jobs to the city.

"We're very blessed it's a good shot in the arm for our local economy and we're very much looking forward to how it impacts our city in appositive way," Mayor of Hanford Lou Martinez.


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