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Plans Drawn Up for Courthouse Expansion

Plans Drawn Up for Courthouse Expansion

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- New designs are again being drawn up for the federal courthouse expansion project, but the latest call for new security measures in light of recent threats made against judges.

General Services Administration officials said New York architect Thomas Phifer has been ordered to come up with the new design for the often-delayed project.

The new plans are estimated to cost $1 million, bringing total design costs over the last nine year to $6 million.

From its inception in 1996, plans to expand the Moss Courthouse have run into opposition and delays. The last came last July, when design work was officially halted. With the exception of two building acquisitions, the $115 million project to expand the Moss Federal Courthouse on the block to the west has been dormant for more than a year.

The Oddfellows Building, adjacent to the existing Frank E. Moss Courthouse, was purchased in August 2004 for $2.4 million. It will be preserved and moved across Market Street. The Chevron gas station on the corner of Market Street and West Temple was acquired from owner David Bernolfo for nearly $3.7 million in March.

Prompting a redesign for the project, however is the expected acquisition of The Shubrick Building.

The Shubrick was originally deemed too costly and unnecessary for the courthouse expansion project, but owner Kent Knowley lobbied Utah's congressional delegates and federal judges on the security risks of allowing a private parcel of land to remain on an otherwise federal block.

The congressional appropriation to acquire the building, home to Salt Lake City's largest nightclub, Port O' Call, has already been approved. The GSA says it was time to send the project back for redesign since the request for additional funding needed to purchase the Shubrick in the works.

The government won't restart negotiations with Knowley until the amount of the federal funding has been confirmed.

The additional space of the Shubrick land, and mounting security concerns for federal judges, dictated a complete redesign. That is expected to take two years, and construction work is expected to take three additional years.

The new plans will focus on meeting a 50-foot setback from the street, guaranteeing strict security and providing pleasing aesthetics for its main entry as well as a convenient connection to the old courthouse, GSA project manager Kim Bailey said.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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