Bond Bills for Court Improvements
Acts of 1988, Ch. 203$320.0 M
Acts of 1995, Ch. 277$56.0 M
Acts of 1997, Ch. 88$14.0 M
Acts of 1998, Ch. 189$730.3 M
Acts of 2002, Ch. 245$5.5 M
Acts of 2004, Ch. 290$220.0 M
Acts of 2008, Ch. 304$658.4 M
Total  $2,004 M

The Trial Court's capital improvement campaign began with the passage of Chapter 203 of the Acts of 1988. Six subsequent bond bills have been passed, appropriating a total of $2 billion for the improvement of court facilities. This has funded the construction or major renovation of 22 courthouses and repairs on nearly every state-owned court facility.

The capital investment needs for the judiciary remain significant. Many older courthouses have serious life safety, structural and code-compliance issues requiring comprehensive renovation or closure. Construction of new regional justice centers will enable the Trial Court to close older, outdated facilities. The average age of state-owned courthouses is 68 years and the average age for county-owned courthouses is 87 years. A majority of these facilities were built before 1960, including 21 courthouses over one hundred years old. A new bond bill proposal will be a part of the capital plan currently being developed.

Timeline of Courthouse Construction

Pie Chart showing distribution of bond cap spending

In FY 2013, capital investment commitments for courthouse construction reached the bottom of a four year downward trend. Court projects have been deferred to allow other state capital investment priorities to advance and future capital plans for the courts are being constrained by increased competition for the limited resources available under the bond cap spending capacity. The new investment plan predicts a modest increase in capital investments for court construction over the next few years.

Small capital maintenance and repairs will be focused on due to constricted spending capacity. Roughly two-thirds of proposed deferred maintenance projects are for less than $2 million. There is clearly a shift underway from expensive megaprojects to a greater emphasis on maintaining existing resources.

New projects in planning and about to begin construction total more than $290 million. These projects will allow the Trial Court to continue to play a lead role in facilitating the move toward sustainable design, green building, energy efficiency and the utilization of clean and renewable energy technologies.