The Santa Clarita Courthouse. KATHARINE LOTZE/Signal.

New Santa Clarita Courthouse tops prioritizing list among judges

As part of the Superior Court system’s plans to repair decrepit, old and crumbling courthouses and build new ones, the Santa Clarita Valley is getting a new courthouse.

Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Kevin C. Brazile shared the good news Thursday with those attending a speech competition at the Scholars & Bench Night at The Oaks Club in Valencia.

Brazile talked about plans underway to prioritize what courts should get the most attention.  

He mentioned the court in Glendale as in need of repair and the court inside the aging Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Hill Street, in Los Angeles, where a broken elevator forced judges to use the freight elevator until that elevator broke, as well.

Then, he mentioned Santa Clarita to much applause.

“And the plan calls for building a brand new courthouse in the Santa Clarita Courthouse,” the judge told the group Thursday

Asked Monday about his Thursday statements, Brazile explained in a written statement:

“Discussions on the Los Angeles Superior Court’s facility needs and priorities are continuous and ongoing with Judicial Council staff.

“We have many needs in the County of Los Angeles. Any new facility would have to be approved by the Judicial Council. So far, nothing has been approved.”

News of the prioritizing plans, however, were well-received.

“An updated, modern courthouse would be a welcome addition to the Santa Clarita Valley,” Supervisor Kathryn Barger spokesman Tony Bell said Monday.

The Santa Clarita Courthouse, next to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station on Valencia Boulevard, just south of Magic Mountain Parkway, opened its courthouse doors in 1968, after the original courthouse, which was built on Railroad Avenue in 1931, was vacated.

Now, it’s time to move again, as the Santa Clarita project remains one of several courthouse projects being reviewed by the Judicial Council of California.

Plans for upgrading the courthouse, made 10 years ago, were stalled in October 2012, when the Judicial Council chose to indefinitely delay seven new courthouse projects due to ongoing state budget cuts. One of those considered was the Santa Clarita Courthouse.

Currently, all of the new courthouse construction projects — which are not yet funded for construction — are being assessed as part of the judicial branch’s Revision of Prioritization Methodology for Trial Court Capital-Outlay Projects, council spokesman Blaine Corren said Monday.

The new courthouse won’t be an overnight endeavor, insiders said Monday.

“This is a requirement included in the State Budget Act of 2018,” Corren wrote in an email Monday. “And no additional new courthouse projects will be funded until it’s complete.”

The reprioritization report will be posted for public comment, probably around August, he said.

It’s then scheduled to go to the Judicial Council for its review at its November meeting, as the report is due to the Legislature in December.

Members of the council’s Court Facilities Advisory Committee learned about the reprioritization project in a presentation given in February.

That presentation of the reprioritization project is explained online at courts.ca.gov/documents/cfac-20190221-materials.pdf.

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