Local and federal officials announced plans Monday for a new $117 million federal courthouse to be built downtown on West Nueva Street, across from the San Antonio Public Safety headquarters.
Federal Judge Xavier Rodriguez was praised for making a new courthouse a reality by working with many of the parties involved during a news conference at the construction site.
Rodriguez said the new building will include state of the art security to better protect judges and all courthouse personnel.
“Our current San Antonio courthouse, the John Wood building, has also been overwhelmed. Initially built as the U.S. pavilion for the 1968 HemisFair, this temporary structure was never designed to process the number of criminal defendants that arrive daily,” he said.
Rodriguez said work on a new home for the Western District of Texas began in 1997, culminating in government approval for the three-story 238,000 square foot courthouse.
The federal court district includes 55 counties and requires 13 district judges and four senior district judges.
Plans for a larger facility that would have housed training for federal magistrates were scaled down due to a tight budget, said Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar, who represents a portion of San Antonio.
Cuellar also said since the 1995 deadly bombing at the Oklahoma City federal building there are limits on how many stories some federal facilities can be.
Alabama-based Brasfield and Gorrie will build the courthouse designed by San Antonio’s Munoz & Company and Lake Flato Architects, Rodriguez said.
Groundbreaking should happen early next year with completion no later than the spring of 2022, Rodriguez said.
The current courthouse is named after U.S. District Judge John Wood, who was assassinated. Rodriguez said Congress would decide whether the Wood name is transferred to the new building.
County Judge Nelson Wolff said he is working with Nirenberg to set aside seven acres near to the new courthouse for a University of Texas at San Antonio business school, data science classes, and a collaborative cybersecurity center.
Wolf added the federal Central Texas Detention Facility near the planned site will be torn down within the next two years and the federal inmates housed there will be moved to county detention.