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MTD Property Under Consideration for New Courthouse

But the state's preferred site for the project remains Hayward Properties at 1025 Santa Barbara St.

The State Public Works Board announced Friday that it is officially considering a 2.5-acre property owned by the Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District as a site for the new Santa Barbara County Superior Courthouse.

The agency previously approved pursuing the Hayward Properties building at 1025 Santa Barbara St., which is still the preferred location for the project, according to Judicial Council of California spokeswoman Teresa Ruano.

A $151 million, 97,266-square-foot courthouse will consolidate the Superior Court criminal and traffic courts, as well as adding jury deliberation rooms, a self-help center, a children’s waiting room, a holding area for people in jail custody, attorney/client interview rooms and a parking structure. Senate Bill 1407 started funding the project in 2009.

Work already has been done to alter the existing Figueroa Division’s first floor to enable security to screen all courtgoers as they enter the building instead of on a courtroom-by-courtroom basis.

The MTD property considered for the project is located near the County Jail and the county Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Services Department just outside the city limits, and only 2.5 acres of the 8.9-acre undeveloped lot would be used for the project.

A decision isn’t expected to be made for months, as the land purchase is slated for September and construction most likely won’t begin until January 2014.

The Hayward Properties site was approved as a possible site at a December meeting, and both sites would come within the budget of $41.5 million for land purchase costs.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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