New federal courthouse opens its doors

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SAN DIEGO- After nearly 20 years of planning and $380 million, the new federal courthouse on Broadway Street opened its doors.

new “It wasn’t just to fill a need that existed, but it’s designed to easily convert to uses in the future at significant savings to the tax payers,” U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California Chief Judge Barry Ted Moskowitz said.

Moskowitz invited Fox 5 to check out his courtroom and the rest of the building Tuesday morning.

This building will handle thousands of cases a year. Federal judges preside over cases handling everything from drug smuggling and immigration to civil rights and patents.

The new building is home to six courtrooms, 12 judges, U.S. Marshal Service, IRS, GSA and court staff.

The 467,000 square feet high-rise is 16 stories tall and there is room to add more courtrooms.

The courtrooms are all about innovation, starting with the jury box.

Jurors now have plush chairs and monitors where they can see documents.

The rooms also have special white noise technology to block out sound when the judge and the attorneys are conducting sidebars.

“We want to make it as comfortable as possible, not only in the jury selection process, but also when they hear the cases,” Moskowitz said.

The high-rise meets all of the environmental requirements to be certified LEED gold.

It was built with recycled materials and almost every room has access to natural light, which reduces energy use.

“It’s a building for the people and the judicial process in the United States is an open process,” Court Architect David Allen said. “Things are transparent and the building is really symbolic of that process, which maybe separates us from other parts of the world.”