Some of the nation’s leading courthouse architects submitted bids this week for Pasco County’s proposed $28 million courthouse.
The new courthouse would be built in front of the jail in Land O’ Lakes. A preliminary design by Atlanta-based Heery International calls for eight courtrooms and enough office space to accommodate all of the county’s criminal court judges.
It would have a secure connection to the jail so deputies wouldn’t have to drive inmates to either side of the county for court hearings.
Chief Judge Thomas McGrady called the bid opening “the next step to proceeding with a much-needed facility.” Some of the architects met with Administrative Judge Lowell Bray to discuss his vision for the county’s third courthouse.
Pasco County commissioners decided to seek bids for the project in spite of objections from Sheriff Chris Nocco and Clerk of Courts Paula O’Neil.
The sheriff’s office doesn’t like the placement of the building because it would force the county to relocate its visitor and employee parking farther from the jail entrance.
O’Neil has other concerns about the project and the stresses it would place on her office. She said the preliminary design lacked the evidence storage space required for a criminal courthouse. She also worries that the location is too remote, noting that the county has no public transportation on U.S. 41.
Five architect/construction teams submitted bids for the project:
KBJ has designed federal courthouses in Miami, Jacksonville and Pensacola ranging from five stories to 14 stories. KBJ also designed the Florida Department of Law Enforcement buildings in Tallahassee and Miami.
The firm partnered with Pinellas-based J. Kokolakis Contracting, which built the West Pasco Judicial Center and recently completed a 220,000-square-foot renovation of the Hillsborough County Courthouse in downtown Tampa.
Dewberry was one of the first firms in the nation to specialize in criminal justice architecture 40 years ago. The firm has a security and technology group that works exclusively in the design of criminal justice facilities.
Dewberry recently completed a 12,000-square-foot military courthouse at Fort Bragg, N.C. The firm also renovated the Metropolitan Courthouse in Nashville, Tenn.
Dewberry would partner with Clearwater-based Peter Brown Construction Solutions, the contractor that built the jail in Land O’ Lakes. Brown is the firm that built the renowned 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee, dubbed the Taj Mahal by its critics.
HOK has designed local and federal courthouses in California, Colorado and Rhode Island in addition to the Miami-Dade County Children’s Courthouse.
The 14-story building consolidates more than a dozen agencies dealing with troubled children and was designed to be “a signature building in downtown Miami” and to meet criteria for LEED Silver certification. The team conducted extensive energy modeling to create a high-performance, energy-saving building.
Moss & Associates built the courthouse annex and jail for Bay County.
DLR Group was ranked the top criminal justice design firm by World Architecture magazine. The firm designed Alachua County’s courthouse annex to meet LEED Silver certification standards.
The firm also renovated the federal building in Orlando and built an attached courthouse annex as part of that $47.5 million project.
Charles Perry Partners is building the $40 million Lake County Judicial Complex and has completed courthouses in Alachua and Suwanee counties.
HDR is a global company with 11 Florida offices, including one in Tampa. The firm has designed seven judicial complexes or courthouses, including the 542,000-square-foot county courthouse in Charlotte, N.C. The 10-courtroom Hays County Courthouse in San Marco, Texas, is closer to the scale of the Pasco County project.
HDR partnered with Florida Design Consultants and Lend Lease Construction, which provided construction and project management services on two recent courthouse projects in New York.