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$50M netted for courthouse

Funding in place for Valencia facility

Posted: October 28, 2008 9:19 p.m.
Updated: December 30, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Santa Clarita Valley will get a new $50 million courthouse soon. State officials need to determine where.
The money will come from a $5 billion state bond designed to renovate or replace 41 courthouses statewide.

Legislators eyed the Santa Clarita Superior Court as building in need of dire repair, said Mary Hearn, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Senate Bill 1407, which allowed for sale of the bond, originally called for a renovation of the courthouse building at 23747 W. Valencia Blvd. But by the time Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the bill on Sept. 26, the renovation project became a replacement project, Hearn said.

“I don’t know the actual genesis of the change for Santa Clarita, but it changed,” Hearn said.

California Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, R-Santa Clarita, knows exactly where the change occurred and why.
“With the expected population growth and the needs of the community, I thought it was best we replace the courthouse,” he said.

Smyth’s courthouse razing isn’t limited to Santa Clarita. He also secured a new courthouse for the city of Glendale, which is within Smyth’s 38th Assembly District.

Santa Clarita and Glendale are among four locations classified in the immediate-need category.
“That’s based on the age of the facility and the set up,” Smyth said. “In some courthouses we have victims, witnesses and perpetrators sitting next to each other.”

The bond money will replace the three-courtroom Santa Clarita Superior Courthouse with a four-courtroom facility, Hearn said.

With the money secure the next step is to pinpoint a location.

“There is a plan to replace the sheriff’s station. We might piggyback on that project,” Smyth said.

The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station is antiquated, Capt. Anthony La Berge said. Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca toured the station in 2007 and vowed to replace the station, La Berge said.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a development fee earmarked for new law enforcement construction. However, no timetable is set to replace the sheriff’s station, La Berge said. 

A stall in the sheriff’s station project won’t hamstring the courthouse, Smyth said.

“We will start planning the new courthouse after the first of the year. If we need to, we will look at other locations,” Smyth said.


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