$556M San Diego Courthouse Already Needs New Windows

Windows at the new San Diego County Courthouse. (Chris Marshall/CNS)

SAN DIEGO (CN) – Less than a year after the most expensive courthouse in California opened – a $556 million endeavor – work to refurbish cracking windows is already underway.

The new 22-story San Diego Superior Central Courthouse opened downtown earlier this year, but problems with cracking windows in 22 judges’ chambers is just the latest setback despite the building’s state-of-the-art amenities.

The courthouse opened more than a year behind schedule after problems with the smoke-control system delayed getting the final OK from the fire marshal to move in, months after the building was dedicated in June 2017.

Now, the California Judicial Council said 13 percent of the buildings’ bulletproof windows in 22 judges’ chambers are being replaced.

“Scratches were found on the interior surfaces (‘crazing defect’) of the bullet-resistant glass that did not meet the specified quality standards for the project,” Judicial Council spokesman Cathal Conneely said in an emailed statement.

Work to replace the windows began Sept. 11 and is expected to be completed by Oct. 9.

The San Diego County Courthouse, opened in 2017. (Chris Marshall/CNS)

The windows are still under warranty and replacement costs will be covered by the building contractor, Conneely said. Conneely did not say how much the project is expected to cost.

Judge Runston “Tony” Maino has been an outspoken critic of the costs and process of building the new courthouse.

He told The San Diego Union-Tribune the window on his 13th floor chambers is among those being replaced and that “no homeowner would think that this is acceptable.”

The new courthouse was funded by Senate Bill 1407, which used court fees, penalties and assessments rather than public dollars to pay for construction.

The old courthouse on Broadway – asbestos-riddled and sitting on the Rose Canyon fault line – remains empty as San Diego County negotiates the sale of the three-block property for redevelopment.

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