GSA Dedicates New John M. Roll U.S. Courthouse in Yuma

April 24, 2014


YUMA, Ariz. — Today, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) dedicated the John M. Roll U.S. Courthouse at a ceremony in Yuma, Ariz. Over 400 attendees joined GSA; U.S. Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake; U.S. Representatives Raul Grijalva, Paul Gosar, and Ron Barber; Chief Judge Raner Collins; Mayor Doug Nicholls; former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords; and the Roll family at the Pivot Point Conference Center in celebrating the new courthouse and the significant role it plays in the community.

The Yuma courthouse, named in honor of the late U.S. District Chief Judge John M. Roll, received funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Targeting LEED® Gold certification from the U.S. Green Buildings Council, the Courthouse’s sustainability strategy integrates three principles into the design: harvesting the abundant solar energy onsite while minimizing energy usage; utilizing materials that save energy and money long term; and conserving water.

Key Facts:

  • Location: 98 West First Street, Yuma, Arizona
  • Project size: 56,800 Gross Square Feet
  • Total Funding: $33.4 million
  • Houses two Magistrate Courtrooms, Judges’ Chambers, Jury Facilities, Probation and Pretrial Services, District and Bankruptcy Court Services, and U.S. Marshals Service

Project Goals:

  • Update the American traditional courthouse
  • Provide safe, secure processing of mass immigration defendants
  • Integrate high performance and sustainability at low cost
  • Achieve design excellence within strict security mandates
  • Create an outdoor communal space
  • Complement the urban fabric of downtown Yuma

Project Overview:

  • The John M. Roll U.S. Courthouse reinterprets and updates the classical American courthouse while adapting to the Southern Arizona climate utilizing 21st century durable materials and technologies.
  • The centerpiece of the courthouse – a large, solar panel canopy – brings the latest in innovative technology to the forefront. The panels will use the bright Arizona sun to generate almost one quarter of the building’s electrical demand and the shade they provide will shelter employees and visitors and create an open and accessible ambience.
  • The design features living walls, two dozen highly-efficient, independently-controlled air fans, and locally-sourced Arizona sandstone. As the sandstone reflects the constancy and permanence of our legal system, the two-story glass lobby demonstrates its transparency and equality.
  • The Courthouse displays a bronze bust honoring the late Judge Roll, created by Arizona artist Nicholas Burke. A public art installation by John Bisbee, entitled “Lion Dandies,” is a metal orb sculpture made completely from iron railroad nails and was designed to reflect Yuma’s historic ties to the railroad.

About Judge Roll:

  • Arizona Chief Judge John M. Roll served as a board member on GSA’s source selection panel and played an integral role in awarding the contract for this project. During the selection process he commented on the building’s architectural style.

“The Southwestern flavor of this concept retains the dignity of a Federal Courthouse,” he wrote. “It is a great fit for the area, particularly as positioned. The front entrance is prominent and inviting. The veranda shading is innovative and practical.”

  • After his tragic passing, the Senate unanimously approved naming the Yuma U.S. Courthouse in his honor. President Obama signed the measure into law on February 17, 2011.

U. S. Senator John McCain weighs in: “I cannot imagine a greater example of character or selflessness than Chief Judge John Roll and it is only fitting the new Yuma courthouse be named in his honor. Chief Judge Roll was known for his fairness to all who appeared before him in his courtroom. He dedicated his life to public service and was admired for his integrity, kindness and love for the law, for the state of Arizona and for our country. Even in his death, Judge Roll put his fellow man before himself, pulling Congresswoman Giffords’ staffer Ron Barber to the ground and protecting Barber’s body with his own. That is true bravery and sacrifice. It is my hope that this building serves as a memorial to Chief Judge Roll and his rich legacy, and inspires those who will serve justice there.”

U.S. Senator Jeff Flake comments: “Judge Roll was a good man, and this new federal courthouse is a fitting tribute to him.”

U.S. Congressman Raul Grijalva said: “Our justice system in Southern Arizona has been stretched too thin for too long. By helping our judges administer cases and render justice in a timely way, the John M. Roll Courthouse will do justice and credit to Judge Roll’s legacy. Our community has taken important healing steps since his death, and this is one of the most important. We could have no better building blocks than his belief in the law, his sincere commitment to truth and due process, and the integrity he displayed throughout his life and his career. This building bearing his name is a fitting tribute to the many contributions he made and the many more his example will inspire in years to come.”

GSA Pacific Rim Regional Administrator Ruth Cox says: “Judge Roll recognized that sustainability and environmental stewardship are predominant drivers in the design and maintenance of the federal portfolio. GSA has an obligation to increase the sustainability of the Federal Government by reducing its cost of operations and the environmental impact of its buildings. We lead by example in providing workspaces that will reshape the culture of the federal workforce.”

Mayor Doug Nicholls stated: “In the centennial year of the city of Yuma, the community looks forward to dedicating the Federal Courthouse after Judge Roll, a man who reflects the complete gift of self that is so treasured by the people of Yuma.”

Last Reviewed 2014-04-22