Last year, the State scratched Inyo County’s new and expensive court building project. Then they picked it up again but scaled it back. Now, apparently the State will go ahead with a $34 million building in Bishop. The State Public Works Board met last Friday to consider two properties in Bishop as possible sites for the new Courthouse.
Keby Boyer of Judicial Council Communications said that one site is owned by the Department of Water and Power at the northwest corner of MacIver and Spruce Streets. The other potential Bishop site is owned by the City of Bishop and sits between Fowler and Warren Streets behind City Hall.
A year ago, the State struggled with chronic budget problems but decided to spend money on new court buildings anyway. Inyo Court officials had told the Judicial Council that Inyo needs the new building because of security, overcrowding, lack of ADA accessible courtrooms, and the physical condition of the buildings.
Some three years ago, the plan was to place the new court building in Independence. Plans suddenly switched at one point. Southern Inyo citizens and others protested the switch and criticized the County for failure to maintain the historic courthouse.
The agenda of the State Public Works Board says the MacIver Street location would involve around 1.45 acres. The City of Bishop-owned site would be around the same size. The State would appropriate roughly $1.5 million on either site. The current estimated project cost adds up to over $26 million, and the State has authorized nearly $34 million.
The project schedule calls for escrow closure by next December, construction in January of 2017 and completion by the fall of 2018.