Pima County holds “topping off” ceremony to celebrate completion of framework for new courts buildingby Pima County News on Jan. 07, 2013, under Board of Supervisors, Economic Development, Pima County, Southern Arizona, Tucson
Construction will now proceed to enclose the 290,000 square foot complex, which will ultimately provide a new home for the Pima County Consolidated Justice Court.
Pima County Supervisor Richard Elías said he believes the historic Pima County Courthouse that houses much of the Justice Court operations – notable for its pink hue and large tiled dome – is the second-most beautiful building in the County, second only to Mission San Xavier del Bac. But as iconic as it is, he said, it is important to build a new home for justice that will serve Pima County residents and court staff well into the future.
The historic Pima County Courthouse was constructed in 1929, before computers and when Tucson was much more sparsely populated, noted Presiding Superior Court Judge Sarah R. Simmons.
“In this day and age when we take payments for fines by credit card, when we can communicate with folks through our web pages, and when we are servicing so many more people, it is obvious this building was truly necessary,” she said.
Presiding Justice Court Judge Keith Bee agreed that the new facility will be beneficial to the public. “As long as I’ve been on the bench, the Pima County Consolidated Justice Court has been in multiple facilities. We haven’t been in one building because we’re too big for the building that we have,” he said, explaining court participants often rush in, late and apologetic, for going to the wrong building.
John Leonardo, U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona and the former presiding judge of Pima County Superior Court, said that while it was disappointing the City ofTucsonis no longer a participant, it is important to mark the evolution ofJustice Courtto a place that will be fully equipped to serve a modern, metropolitan area.
“A courthouse is a place of prominence in the community,” he said. “It is a place where citizens go to seek justice in disputes with each other and with their government. This beautiful courthouse not only will enhance downtown by its presence, it will also reflect the dignity and the seriousness of the significant role it will play as a house of justice.”
Pima County Supervisors Chairman Ramón Valadez placed a glass eye made by local artist Tom Philabaum on the beam to signify the blind eye of justice. “Our system of government is built upon checks and balances and this building represents that,” he said.
Tenant improvements are expected to begin in the fall of 2013, with occupancy in early 2015.