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VIDEO: Banning Justice Center is Expected Open in Spring 2014

Banning-Beaumont Patch video by Guy McCarthy

VIDEO: Banning Justice Center is Expected Open in Spring 2014
Completion of the new Banning Justice Center was originally hoped for by Fall 2013, but it's now expected to open sometime in Spring 2014, according to the state Administrative Office of the Courts.

A groundbreaking ceremony was staged in February 2012 and the authorized budget remains at $63.2 million. The finished courthouse on Ramsey Street will cover 68,399 square feet and house six courtrooms.

"We're looking at the end of the first quarter of 2014," Gary Swanson, project manager for the AOC said Thursday during a tour of the construction site. "We have some wiggle room, but we don't to give a date. Things can change. It can take a couple weeks to get moved in, and up and running a hundred percent."

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Jeff Prevost said Dec. 12 he's pleased with progress at the building site.

"It's been a few months since I've been here and it's nice to see it coming along," Prevost said. "It's going to be a beautiful facility.

"It's going to give us several more courtrooms we expect," Prevost said. "We should get more judges in the future and we'll be able to accommodate them. We'll be able to serve the community in a much better fashion."

According to state court officials, the "mid-county region" of Riverside County is currently served by the Southwest Justice Center with 12 courtrooms, the Hemet Courthouse with 5 courtrooms, the Temecula Courthouse with 1 courtroom, and the Banning Courthouse with 2 courtrooms, for a total of 20 courtrooms serving the region.

The Banning Justice Center, which will also be known as the Riverside Midcounty Region Courthouse, will replace the Banning Courthouse and create more space for the Superior Court.

The building will include space for court administration, a court clerk, court security operations, a holding area, and facility support.

The total estimated project cost for the Banning Justice Center includes land acquisition, architectural design, construction, and other costs, Teresa Ruano, of the Judicial Council of California - Administrative Office of the Courts, said in 2012.

Estimated project costs financed by lease revenue bonds were $54.5 million, Ruano said.

The new Justice Center is considered a catalyst and complement for other development in downtown Banning, including the planned Village at Paseo San Gorgonio, according to Bill Manis, economic development director and public information officer for the City of Banning.

The Banning Justice Center project is funded by revenues from within the judicial branch, with no impact on the state's General Fund, according to the Judicial Council, the policy-making body for California courts. Lease payments that repay the bonds will be supported by dedicated court filing fees, surcharges, and criminal penalties.

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