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San Antonio

Hundreds attend dedication of new federal courthouse in San Antonio

Federal Judge Xavier Rodriguez, GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan, Senator John Cornyn and Congressman Henry Cuellar cut the ribbon during a dedication ceremony at the new federal courthouse.jpg
Brian Kirkpatrick
/
Texas Public Radio
Federal Judge Xavier Rodriguez, GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan, Senator John Cornyn and Congressman Henry Cuellar cut the ribbon during a dedication ceremony at the new federal courthouse.

A who's who of San Antonio's legal and political communities turned out for Wednesday's dedication of the new federal courthouse on West Nueva Street.

Federal personnel, including judges, U.S. attorneys and U.S. marshals, moved into the $144 million four-story building during the winter.

Federal Judge Xavier Rodriguez led the planning for the facility. He said it features better security than the old John H. Wood Federal Courthouse.

"Now that we're out of the building, I can sort of share that. Frankly, you could have just pried open the front door. No one really realized that. And then our prisoners would be escorted at street level and would have to walk a block down into the building," he said.

The new building features a secure sally port where prisoners are brought in directly. Sen. John Cornyn and Congressman Henry Cuellar, who led a bipartisan effort to fund the courthouse, also attended the event.

Rodriguez said the federal personnel are enjoying their new home.

The federal government has selected a builder for San Antonio’s new federal courthouse. The deal to replace the John H. Wood Jr. Federal Courthouse was…

"Today is a wonderful relief for us all. I think this is going to be a building that the City of San Antonio and all of us in the Western District of Texas are going to be very proud of for decades to come," he said.

During the dedication event, several immigrants from different countries took an Oath of Allegiance to the United States to receive their Certificates of Naturalization before a crowd of hundreds. Madiya Matsuka of Ukraine was among them. She told Texas Public Radio the citizenship process was "difficult," but she was "very excited to be here" and "very joyful."

Large crowd looks up for panoramic photograph during federal courthouse dedication ceremony.jpg
Brian Kirkpatrick
/
Texas Public Radio
Large crowd looks up for panoramic photograph during federal courthouse dedication ceremony

The courthouse is the home of eight federal courtrooms and 13 chambers. It also houses 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.

It is also more energy efficient due to the modern mechanical and electrical systems and LEED gold certification, the General Services Administration reports.

Pendulum hangs outside courthouse to represent scale of justice.jpg
Brian Kirkpatrick
/
Texas Public Radio
Pendulum hangs outside courthouse to represent balance of justice

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.

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