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Timeline Set For For New Federal Courthouse Building

City leaders say a new federal courthouse will be built downtown by the end of 2020. They unveiled renderings of the facility Wednesday, at event thanking U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar for his support fort the new courthouse.

Congress approved about $133 million for the building, alongside funding for seven other federal courthouses. The facility at Nueva and Santa Rosa Streets will replace the crumbling John H. Wood Courthouse, built 50 years ago for the World's Fair. 

The U.S District Court for the Western District of Texas is one of the busiest in the country and hosts high-profile trials for drug trafficking and organized crime. The facility has been plagued by health issues—including mold and pest infestations—as well as security issues. Rep. Cuellar noted that jurors and dangerous defendants were sometimes sharing hallways. 

"The security issue was the strongest argument that we had for a new courthouse," says Rep. Cuellar. "It was something that got turned into a courthouse, so the design was not there for proper security, safety precautions that we need to take for our judges."

Construction should begin on the 305,000 square foot building, which will house eight courtrooms, before the end of next year. Employees are expected to move in in early 2021. 

Mayor Ivy Taylor says a new courthouse has been San Antonio's top federal priority for the past few years. She says the new building will have a direct positive impact on redevelopment projects at HemisFair Park and the San Pedro Creek.