By Lee Roop
The federal government has awarded a $79.8 million contract for construction of Huntsville’s new federal courthouse with plans to start work in spring 2022.
The 123,000-square-foot courthouse would be complete and open 30 months after construction starts, according to the plan. It will be located on a 5-acre site at the corner of Lowe Avenue and Gallatin Street and built by Alabama-based construction company Brasfield & Gorrie, LLC.
The authorized budget for the courthouse is $95 million including purchase of the site, design, construction costs and other related expenses. Funding for the building is already secured after U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby put $110 million for the courthouse in an omnibus federal spending bill that has already passed Congress.
Once built, the courthouse will be home to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama and the Bankruptcy Court of North Alabama. It will have three stories, five courtrooms and six judges’ chambers and provide workspace for several other federal agencies, including the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the U.S Probation and Pretrial Services. It will have 26 secured parking spaces.
The existing courthouse on Holmes Avenue was built in 1935 as a joint courthouse-post office. It is on the National Register of Historic Places, and Mayor Tommy Battle’s office has said its future will be the subject of a public conversation.
Steve White of Fentress Architects in Washington, D.C., is the project’s lead designer. Lee Sims of Studio Scarab Architecture Interiors Planning in Montgomery is the courthouse designer. Payne Design Group Architects of Montgomery provided bridging architectural services.