Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Courthouse closer to renovation

Courthouse closer to renovation
By Reporter Staff
Posted: 10/16/2009

Solano County's historic - and long vacant - courthouse in downtown Fairfield moved another step closer to restoration this week with the selection of the architectural firm of Hornberger and Worstell for restoration of the pillared courthouse structure, according to the state Administrative Office of the Courts.

The stately 1911 structure has not been used for judicial proceedings for more than 35 years, and has been vacant since 2005 when county offices housed there moved to the new County Government Center across the street.

The restoration plan, estimated at $26.9 million, is aimed at returning the granite Beaux Arts structure to its former grandeur as a courthouse, complete with three civil courtrooms. A legal museum, focusing on the history of law in Solano County, also has been proposed for the old courthouse.

Restoration, ranked as an "immediate need" in the state judicial branch's capital outlay plan, is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2012.

The San Francisco-based Hornberger and Worstell architectural firm counts among its projects the Ahwanee Hotel in Yosemite, San Francisco's Olympic Club, Ghirardelli Square and San Diego's landmark Hotel Del Coronado.

"This project is not only critically needed by our court, but it also will be an important addition to Fairfield's civic community and an infrastructure effort that will provide economic benefits for years to come," said Presiding Solano County Superior Court Judge Ramona Garrett.

Renovation of the old courthouse is among the first of 41 such projects funded by Senate Bill 1407 for court construction, renovation and repair statewide.