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John M. Roll U.S. Courthouse wins design excellence award

By Christi Chidester

Rendering of the main entrance to the John M. Roll United States Courthouse in Yuma, Arizona
The centerpiece of the courthouse is a solar panel canopy.

On May 23, 2013, the new John M. Roll U.S. Courthouse in Yuma, Arizona was honored with an award from the Design-Build Institute of America’s Western Pacific Region. The honor was bestowed on the project for design excellence during the annual DBIA Design-Build Awards Banquet in Newport Beach, California.

“This award represents a high degree of validation from our peers in the design-build community,” said Project Executive Keith Lew.

The design-build team was led by Ehrlich Architects and Sundt Construction, but the award recipients included GSA and a number of consultants and subcontractors.

The courthouse is named for Judge John Roll who was fatally shot in Tucson while attending an outreach event sponsored by then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Judge Roll was a strong advocate for a new courthouse in Yuma and fought hard to obtain the required funding. He also 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 saying, “The Southwest flavor of this concept retains the dignity of a federal courthouse. It is a great fit for the immediate area, particularly as positioned [and] the front entrance is prominent and inviting.”

The 55,000-square-foot courthouse will house two courtrooms–one for the District Courts and the other for Bankruptcy Courts. It features numerous sustainability features, including a large solar canopy, which will convert the Arizona sunshine into enough electrical energy to meet a quarter of the building’s total energy demand.

The courthouse was constructed on the Colorado River waterfront, on a donated parcel of land. It represents a much-needed Federal presence in a community where immigration is at the forefront.

The $30 million project was completed in May. Currently, tenant customization work for the courts and U.S. Marshals is being completed, and occupancy is set for September of this year.

Traci Madison contributed to this report.

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