Turner Construction Co. was selected by the City of Jacksonville for a $224-million design-build contract for the $224-million Duval County Courthouse project. Construction has started, and the project is scheduled for completion in May 2012.

The 800,000-sq-ft facility will serve as a combined civil and criminal courthouse for Duval County. The seven-story courthouse will include 51 courtrooms, judges’ chambers and offices, and other space. The courthouse will be a cast-in-place concrete structure with a glass and pre-cast exterior in a traditional and classic design.

This latest development appears to finally put this long-sought project on track to reality.

This project was originally proposed in 2000 as a signature piece of the Better Jacksonville Plan, and budgeted at $190 million. Cannon Design of Grand Island, N.Y., won a high-profile design competition with its plan for a traditional, five-story structure, complete with central rotunda and oculus-topped dome. The cost of building materials and land escalated, and the project increased in size and scope to incorporate security concerns and greater than expected county growth. Mayor John Peyton presented a plan to raise money through bonding and a $15 surcharge on traffic tickets, bringing the budget to $268 million.

Even these extra dollars were not enough at the time. in October 2004, the city received a guaranteed maximum price for construction of $225.3 million from former construction manager Skanska Dynamic Partners, a joint venture between Skanska USA Building, SL Construction & Remodeling, Hernandez Enterprises and QC Management, all with offices in Jacksonville. The Skanska-led team had been awarded its contract in 2002, shortly after completing a new federal courthouse located directly across from the proposed county courthouse site.

Combined with other costs, such as land at more than $25 million, the GMP brought the overall courthouse budget to nearly $300 million. The city terminated its contract with Skanska Dynamic Partners at that time.