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Levin U.S. Courthouse completes $140M renovation

December 4, 2020

Exterior overhead shot of Levin U.S. Courthouse courtyard and new stair tower at night
New stair tower in the courtyard of the Levin U.S. Courthouse
Long interior shot of the Levin Courthouse mechanical room
Some of the renovated mechanical systems in the Levin Courthouse

Under planning and construction since 2014, the $140 million prospectus project to renovate the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse reached substantial completion in 2020.

The project made significant infrastructure upgrades to the building, including replacement of electrical, plumbing, fire and life-safety, and heating/ventilation/air conditioning systems. Many of these new systems use energy-efficient designs to help reduce operating costs.

The project also added a new stair tower in the courtyard to provide more security for judges and court personnel.

Though the COVID-19 pandemic forced some changes in procedures, Project Manager Seth LaRoque and his team used innovation to keep things on schedule.

“Prior to the pandemic, I worked on-site every day. My desk was set up in the construction office, which made it very easy to know exactly what was going on,” LaRoque said.

“After COVID-19 hit, I needed to work from home, which meant that I had to lean on the on-site team much more to keep me informed on the day-to-day operations. Instead of in-person progress inspections, we communicated by email with lots of pictures and/or video chats. Impromptu meetings on-site became many virtual meetings...”

Then when the project was within a week of substantial completion, a local outbreak forced shutdown of the entire courthouse.

“Our team had to regroup and develop a revised work plan, which enabled us to safely complete the project,” said LaRoque.

“Our contractor, The Christman Company, updated their safety plan with detailed procedures due to the pandemic. These measures include a reduction in on-site personnel, pre-screening of workers as they enter the building each day, enhanced cleaning procedures, and careful tracking of on-site personnel. All of these added complications turned about a week’s worth of work into about a month and a half.”

Overall, the investment in the courthouse will help prevent costly emergency repairs in the future and extend the building’s life as a vibrant part of Detroit’s history.

Last Reviewed: 2022-02-04