The state Judicial Council will be on Capitol Hill during the next legislative session seeking money to plan a judicial complex in downtown Salt Lake City envisioned in the R/UDAT study, a court administrator said.
The council voted Monday to lobby support for planning facilities to house the 3rd Circuit and 3rd District courts, the Juvenile Court as well as the Utah Court of Appeals and Utah Supreme Court, Deputy State Court Administrator Ron Gibson said.The planning process would cost an estimated $170,000, Gibson said. The Legislature in its last session appropriated $35,000 to plan a new juvenile court complex.
The council was pursuing construction of the juvenile court complex, but, following recommendations by the Regional/Urban Design Assistance Team, a group of urban planners, the council broadened its plans for an entire complex, he said.
The complex could be located on one block in the southern downtown area, Gibson said.
Co-locating judicial facilities in one area not only makes good urban planning sense, it also represents the future of court administration,' he said.
"In past years we've dealt with needs on an isolated basis. I think now the Judicial Council is to a point where it is planning to jointly co-locate ventures in meeting the needs of all levels of courts," Gibson said.
Court officials said locating court-related facilities in one area would allow jail space, clerical resources, libraries and other commodities to be shared by several courts.
Gibson pointed to Price where a new judicial complex housing circuit, district and juvenile courts recently opened. A similar facility opened in Cedar City. Co-location of the facilities led to increased savings and efficiencies at both locations, he said. Plans for a new facility now being laid represent a long-range vision for the council. "We're probably four or five years from any completion or even actual breaking of ground; this is long-term planning," Gibson said.
City officials have been discussing three possible sites for the complex, including Block 39, bound by Fourth and Fifth South, State and Main streets; Block 40, bounded by Fourth and Fifth South, Main and West Temple streets and Block 50, bounded by Third and Fourth South, West Temple and Second West.
The three locations would follow in principal recommendations by R/UDAT that a judicial complex be built to serve as a southern "anchor" to attract pedestrian traffic to the area and provide a counterbalance to the popular north end of downtown.
The City-County Building, now being renovated, already will be a focal point for pedestrian traffic in south downtown. State officials are considering constructing an office building for the Department of Economic Security in south downtown.