Monday, July 28, 2014

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New federal courthouse dazzles city skyline

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After three years of work and anticipation, the new federal courthouse in Downtown Austin opened Wednesday and workers began to move their things in.

Federal District Judge Sam Sparks told YNN that the entire move into the new facility took just 24 hours, but with a move of this size, there are still a few little things to work out.

"It is the nicest office I have had either in the public or private sector," Judge Sparks said.

The longtime judge said the state-of-the-art facility will help to streamline the legal process with three courtrooms more than the old courthouse.

Unlike the old courthouse, it’s designed so defendants facing charges are never in a public area.

The building has a more modern—but still classic—look, and embraces new technology. Jurors will now have monitors to use as reference during trials and evidence can be submitted digitally.

"Even though everything is filed electronically, the paper mill continues to grind out," Judge Sparks said.

Its site along San Antonio Street was originally slated to be the headquarters for tech giant Intel, but when their move fell through in 2007, the project was abandoned.

Several years and $113 million in stimulus money later, it’s home for the new courthouse.

"We are just glad to be over here and hope the public in two or three weeks will start coming over here to look at their newest courthouse, I think they will be pleased," the federal judge said.

"It is important for the public to have a courtroom that has some majesty, some stability."

The judge says the court is already operational, but it will take a few weeks before everyone moves in.

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