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GSA Approves Orlando Courthouse Design

GSA #9744

October 3, 2000
Contact: Viki Reath (202) 501- 1231
viki.reath@gsa.gov
Gary Mote (404) 331-2774
gary.mote@gsa.gov


Robert Peck, Commissioner, Public Buildings Service, U.S. General Services Administration, yesterday approved the design of the new Orlando, Fla., Federal Courthouse.

The design, chosen through GSA's award-winning, design-excellence selection process, balances the courts' security needs with GSA's desire to provide a vibrant, community-friendly building.

The four-story building will be located at the corner of West Central Boulevard and Division Avenue. Leers, Weinzapfel Associates of Boston, and HLM of Orlando, have designed the 308,000-square-foot building, which will contain 14 courtrooms. Estimated construction cost is $60 million. All of the courtrooms will open onto the building's spacious, light-filled, four-story lobby, which will provide an excellent location for community gatherings and public events.

Lead designer Andrea Leers, FAIA, an award-winning architect who has successfully completed several courthouses, also teaches courthouse design as a professor at Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. Judges and architectural professionals are regular students in her class, which she has taught for seven years.

The winning concept was evaluated against several other schemes by a team of private sector architecture professionals. The team was comprised of Robert Ivy, FAIA, Editor in Chief of Architectural Record, Roger Schluntz, FAIA, former Dean of the University of Miami School of Architecture and now Dean of the University of New Mexico School of Architecture, and Margaret McCurry, FAIA, Prinicpal in the firm Tigerman McCurry in Chicago, IL. They recommended the winning concept because it best met the project's functional, security and aesthetic goals.

The new Orlando courthouse, like all of the current generation of courthouses that the GSA is building, provides a public presence that is both open and inviting, while fully adhering to the latest criteria of the Interagency Security Committee's (ISC) guidelines for protection against blast. GSA, the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service, and other agencies charged with protecting Federal employees and the public developed the ISC guidelines following the bombing in Oklahoma City in 1995.

In meeting all of the strict security criteria of the Federal Government, the building will be set back 240 feet from Interstate 4 and more than 60 feet from Central Boulevard and Division Avenue. This will allow for gracious public walks and extensive landscaping with multiple rows of large trees. Also, the amount of glass was reduced as the concept developed, in order to meet the ISC criteria. But the building continues to use extensive natural light to offset energy costs and provide an open, airy feeling. This exciting new courthouse will provide a gateway from downtown Orlando to the revitalized Parramore District. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2002, and the courthouse is scheduled to open in 2005.