Region 9 commemorates the opening of the Bakersfield U.S. Courthouse
PHOTO CREDIT: Frank Ooms, NBBJ
On September 28, GSA, U.S. District Court officials and community leaders marked the opening of the Bakersfield U.S. Courthouse with a small ceremony in the building’s courtroom. As Bakersfield’s first Federal courthouse, and the Pacific Rim Region’s first completed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) project, the opening ceremony highlighted the benefits to the community, the Judiciary, and the important role of GSA in delivering an aesthetically beautiful and high performance building.
The event opened with the presentation of the colors by the Kern County Sheriff’s Office Color Guard and the singing of the National Anthem by California Highway Patrol Officer Robert Rodriguez. The ceremony featured speeches from Chief Judge Anthony W. Ishii, Bakersfield Mayor Harvey Hall, and Ameen Khan, who represented Senator Barbara Boxer. Regional Administrator, Ruth Cox, served as the master of ceremonies.
In her remarks, Regional Administrator Cox highlighted the building’s sustainable features.
“This courthouse is a model of sustainable design,” Cox said. “When the facility was originally designed, we were striving to achieve a LEED Silver rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. I’m excited to say that by incorporating additional innovative design elements, we anticipate surpassing our original goal and are extremely confident in achieving LEED Gold status.”
With green technologies, such as photovoltaic panels, solar hot water system, LED lighting, maximum use of daylighting, and protective shading, the building’s energy consumption is expected to be reduced by 45 percent relative to a comparable building.
The successes of the Bakersfield courthouse are not limited to its green features. The project employed a workforce of approximately 500-700 people, either directly or indirectly, nearly half of which came from the local community, and generated almost $200,000 of revenue per month for the city of Bakersfield. Involvement by enterprises owned by women, veterans, and minorities represented 31 percent of the project budget.
This courthouse, which came in $2 million under budget, is also the first GSA Design-Build / Design Excellence project awarded through a fixed-price design competition selection process. The design-build team of Gilbane Building Company and NBBJ were able to deliver this sustainable courthouse in less than 31 months.
Cox credited the impressive teamwork of GSA associates and local leaders in making this project such a success.
“This event not only commemorates the physical construction of the building, but also the critical partnership between GSA, the Judiciary, the City of Bakersfield, the Congressional delegates that represent Bakersfield, and the contractors who designed and built this high performance, sustainable facility,” Cox said. “The completion of this courthouse is a major milestone for GSA and was a long time in coming for the Judiciary and the Bakersfield community.”
After the ceremony concluded, NBBJ architect Steve McConnell and Art-in-Architecture artist Lucinda Parker took guests on a short tour of the building’s design and artwork. McConnell highlighted the building’s sustainable elements, such as the use of “daylight harvesting” to light the courtroom. Parker, whose five murals adorn the courthouse walls, discussed how local waterways provided inspiration in painting each of the murals.