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Judges pack their robes and gavels for move to new federal courthouse

The new federal courthouse is located at W. Nueva and N. Santa Rosa.
Kathleen Creedon
Texas Public Radio
The new federal courthouse is located at W. Nueva and N. Santa Rosa.

The move by federal personnel from the old John H. Wood Federal Courthouse in Hemisfair to the new four-story federal courthouse at 214 W. Nueva is now complete.

The courthouse is the home of eight federal courtrooms and 13 chambers. It also houses U.S. Attorneys, U.S. Marshals, and the local office of the U.S. General Services Administration.  It serves as the headquarters for the federal Western Judicial District of Texas, which contains 6 million residents, including those in the cities of San Antonio and Austin. The district stretches to the border and El Paso.

The courthouse covers 235,000 square feet and sits on 6.3 acres that back up to the San Pedro Creek Culture Park. The exterior features glass, limestone, and expanded
metal beams.  Construction began in the spring of 2019 at a cost of $144 million.

The facility includes better security features and space needed for the consolidation of court functions. It is also more energy efficient due to the modern mechanical and electrical systems and LEED gold certification, the General Services Administration reports.

The completion of the new federal courthouse in San Antonio represents a partnership between the General Services Administration, U.S. courts, members of Congress, San Antonio officials and the local community, said GSA Acting Regional Administrator Giancarlo Brizzi.

“By working together, the new state-of-the-art facility became a reality and will support the judiciary for generations to come," he said.

“We’ve been slightly ahead of schedule and slightly under budget,” said U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez, who led the judiciary’s efforts to get a new courthouse.

The new courthouse, which sits across Santa Rosa from the city's public safety building, is just part of continuing major construction in the West Side of downtown, including new buildings for the University of Texas at San Antonio, which will have space for data science, cyber security, and business classes, The San Pedro Creek Culture Park also remains under construction through the West Side of downtown.

Federal personnel relocated from the historic courthouse located on East Cesar Chavez Boulevard that was used as a theater during the 1968 World Hemisphere. In the 1970s, the building became the federal courthouse where its unique circular shape stood as a monument of the historic event that was one of the last world’s fairs in North America, according to a GSA news release.

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