Last week, I had the privilege of hosting a groundbreaking ceremony for the new John M. Roll U.S. Courthouse in Yuma, Arizona. The new courthouse is named in honor of the late U.S. District Chief Judge John M. Roll, a strong advocate for the project, who was fatally shot in the January 8th shooting in Tucson. Over 300 attendees braved the Arizona heat to join GSA and Judge Roll’s family for this meaningful ceremony. Among the guests were Congressman Raúl Grijalva, members of the U.S. District Court, Yuma Mayor Alan Krieger, representatives from the offices of Arizona’s Senate delegation and the office of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
One of GSA’s responsibilities is to provide our nation with courthouses so that members of the judiciary can uphold our laws and administer justice. Our courthouses fill a unique space in American civic society and in our history.
The construction of the new John M. Roll Courthouse will meet critical needs in the greater Yuma community. Currently, the U.S. District Court and its related operations are located in a facility that is insufficient to handle the court’s increasing caseload. This new courthouse will resolve capacity issues, and the construction of the courthouse will create much needed construction jobs. The project’s peak construction will create up to 100 new jobs.
The courthouse is an example of GSA’s commitment to reducing our impact on the environment by creating energy efficient buildings. The building’s plans includes an innovative design that will incorporate durable materials and the latest technology to adapt to the Southern Arizona climate. The entrance will use a large solar panel canopy that will generate one quarter of the building’s power. Plants will be used as “living walls” to insulate the building’s exterior, and two dozen highly-efficient air fans will cool the building. The overall features will reduce the building’s consumption of energy and water. When completed, the Roll Courthouse will contribute to GSA’s larger goal of achieving a zero environmental footprint for all of its federal buildings.
The Roll Courthouse is slated for completion in early 2013. Once complete, the building will have 56,800 square-foot of space that will house two magistrate courtrooms, judges’ chambers, jury facilities, U.S. Probation and Pretrial services, District and Bankruptcy Court Services, and the U.S. Marshals Service.
Judge Roll served as a board member on GSA’s source selection panel and played an integral role in awarding the contract for this project. It’s only fitting that this courthouse be named after him to commemorate his service and legacy.