The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) has selected Hensel Phelps as the construction manager at risk for the new Santa Clara Family Justice Center, and has also named architects for 13 other state projects.

Hensel Phelps submitted the winning proposal to provide preconstruction services, planning, and construction management services, which will include solicitation of bids from subcontractors.

The AOC uses a CMAR for delivery of major capital-outlay projects such as the Santa Clara Family Justice Center. The competitive selection process factors in qualitative criteria, such as the firm�s experience, as well as the contractor�s fee. The CMAR is retained early in the project for preconstruction services. Following a competitive bid for all subcontracts and the approval to award, the CMAR becomes the general contractor for the project. For this competitive selection, the AOC received 16 submissions and conducted interviews of the five most qualified firms, from which Hensel Phelps was selected.

The bidding process for subcontractors is expected to take place in late 2012, with prequalification preceding that. Selection criteria for the project included an evaluation of the firm�s plan for outreach to local subcontractors, ensuring that qualified local firms are fully aware of the bidding opportunity, process, and timeline. Local outreach will begin immediately. All qualified subcontractors, lower tier subcontractors, and suppliers will be considered. The project contractors and architects also plan to incorporate local students into the project in a mentoring program that introduces community youth to the design and construction process.

The new Santa Clara Family Justice Center will contain 20 courtrooms in a 234,000-sq-ft building that will include space for justice partners. It will replace six leased facilities and consolidate all family-related services of the Superior Court of Santa Clara County, including family court, juvenile dependency, and drug court, into a single facility. The planned site is bounded by North First Street, West Saint James Street, North Market Street, and Devine Street, across from the Downtown Superior Court and the Historic Courthouse. The site consists mostly of a large parcel donated by Santa Clara County. The AOC is also negotiating purchase of a smaller parcel from the Valley Transportation Authority.

Design of the project by architects Zimmer Gunsul Frasca of Los Angeles has just begun. The project is expected to be LEED silver certified.

Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2013 and will be conducted with mitigation measures in place for air quality, hazardous materials, and noise, as specified in the project�s final study under the California Environmental Quality Act. The project is scheduled for completion in 2014.

Meanwhile, the AOC selected architects for 13 courthouse projects funded under Senate Bill 1407. The firms were selected through a request for qualifications that generated 299 written submissions from 100 firms. The AOC created a short list of 51 firms and conducted 72 team interviews that included the affected local courts before making the final selections.

The AOC expects begin negotiating contracts with each of the selected firms within the next 90 days. Once engaged, the firms may begin preliminary space programming and test fits, but architectural design for new courthouse projects must wait until each site acquisition is approved by the State Public Works Board. Site selection and acquisition typically take one to two years, although some projects may move more quickly through the process, and occasionally, complex and difficult acquisitions take longer.

The 13 projects are the final ones for which the AOC is selecting architects for new courthouses and renovations among the 41 projects funded by Senate Bill 1407. This legislation, passed in 2008, finances critically needed courthouse construction, renovation, and repair through a portion of judicial branch fees, penalties, and assessments, without reliance on the state�s General Fund. SB 1407 launched an unprecedented courthouse rebuilding program in California by designating judicial branch revenues to fund up to $5 billion in lease-revenue bonds that will finance the 41 projects. To date, 36 architectural firms have been selected or hired for trial court capital projects in the AOC�s courthouse construction program. The overall program will create thousands more jobs in local communities as the projects proceed through design and construction over the next five years.

Firms and projects include, Siegel & Strain Architects, new Markleeville Courthouse in Alpine County; Ratcliff, renovation to Fresno County Courthouse; Page & Turnbull, renovation/addition to Willows historic Courthouse in Glenn County; Gould Evans Baum Thornley, new Mojave Courthouse in Kern County; AECOM, Eastlake Juvenile Courthouse in Los Angeles; Williams + Paddon, new North Tahoe area Courthouse in Placer County; RossDrulisCusenbery, new Quincy Courthouse in Plumas County; SmithGroup, Nevada City Courthouse; Perkins & Will, new Hemet Courthouse in Riverside County; Anova Architects, renovation/addition to Juvenile Justice Center in San Joaquin County; Moore Ruble Yudell, new Criminal Courthouse in Santa Barbara County; Nichols-Melburg & Rossetto, new Downieville Courthouse in Sierra County; and Skidmore Owings & Merrill, new Modesto Courthouse in Stanislaus County.