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New Federal Courthouse For San Antonio Just A Congressional Vote Away

San Antonio is slated to get a new federal courthouse if Congress passes a massive $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill over the next week.


For the first time in six years, Congress is spending money on new federal courthouses. The line item is for $940 million.


 “That budget would fund eight courthouses this year and San Antonio’s federal courthouse is 8th on the 

Credit Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio
Texas Public Radio
San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor announces the funding for the new courthouse has been secured as community leaders and members of city council applaud.

  list,” said San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor.


She said about $130 million is slated to replace the aging John Wood Federal Courthouse in HemisFair Park.


Built in 1968 for HemisFair, it served as the United States Pavilion and featured a circular movie theater. It was not designed to meet the needs of a courthouse.


Federal Judge Xavier Rodriguez says the 46-year-old building has problems like security issues, water leaks, asbestos, and even fleas.


“I think I can speak on behalf of my staff that we’re all willing to put up with a few more fleas for a couple of years looking forward to this building finally getting built,” Rodriguez said.


Fleas aside, the city has been itching to move this project forward. It took several years and half a dozen trips to DC by local officials to secure the funds.


Taylor says they are shovel-ready and once the bill is made law things will start happening. “We’ve already torn down the [former] police headquarters and cleared the site for a new federal courthouse and it’s already 50 percent designed, I believe,” she said. “We just needed to secure the funding for construction.”


Design and construction could take about three to four years.  

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules