The Gazette covers City Hall, now a flood-damaged icon on May's Island in the Cedar River

Excavator at the ready to tear apart First Street SE for new federal courthouse; official groundbreaking ceremony set for April 25

In federal courthouse, GSA on March 23, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Make sure you get one last quick look at First Street SE. It is set to change forever and in a historic way this week.

According to U.S. General Services Administration project manager Jim Snedegar, local contractor Ryan Cos. US Inc. is mobilizing forces this week to start preliminary site work for the new $140-plus-million federal courthouse.

That work will include the removal of First Street SE between Seventh and Eighth avenues SE.

An excavator is positioned at the site for the digging to begin.

The new courthouse will go up between the Cedar River and Second Street SE and between Seventh and Eighth avenues SE. It will sit perpendicular to the river and face downtown. And those driving First Street SE toward it will be driving at the middle of the new building.

Long-in-coming, the courthouse landed a special $182-million congressional appropriation in early fall to finally clear the way for construction. Flood damage to the existing courthouse at 101 First St. SE helped make the case for getting started on the new one. The eight-story building is expected to open in the fall of 2012.

A second crew has been at the construction site for the last week or so continuing subsurface explorations in advance of construction, the GSA’s Snedegar said.

The city really is getting a new federal courthouse. The official groundbreaking ceremony is set for 10 a.m. Saturday, April 25.

  1. I remember when I was on Congressman Leach’s staff and this was in it’s infancy. I’m glad it’s happening, just sad it took a record and devestating flood to make it happen now.

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