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'No longer adequate': Renovations planned for San Luis Obispo Courthouse Annex

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Posted at 7:21 PM, Aug 01, 2023

Big changes may be coming to the San Luis Obispo County courthouse in downtown San Luis Obispo.

There’s a plan to replace and consolidate the court’s operations and courtrooms in the county-owned courthouse annex and the two offsite staff office locations, according to The Judicial Branch of California.

The annex is an old building with several flaws that local residents who visit the building notice.

“The building is old too. When you look at the structure on the inside, the furniture is pretty worn out," said Los Osos resident Michael Mendez. "[The] carpet, it looks pretty outdated."

“The building they're in is a county building," said District Two SLO County District Supervisor Bruce Gibson. "We now share that with the courts. (The building) was built back in the '70s and is just no longer adequate for accessibility and other things."

According to the Judicial Council of California, which is the rule-making arm of the California court system, the current building has an undersized lobby and inadequate space for entrance screening for the number of visitors each day.

In addition to undersized courtrooms, there is a lack of space for jurors to deliberate and no secure attorney-client interview rooms.

“It does get pretty crowded, especially when you walk in. I think it's money well spent," Mendez, the Los Osos resident, added. "I mean, it is an old building and the town is growing. With that, I think that they should have a nice modern courthouse facility."

One of the biggest concerns is the seismically high-risk structure of the building, but a new project design could address all these issues.

“We know that the courts need a bigger building. They need a new facility to house 12 courtrooms," said Gibson.

The new courthouse would provide 12 new courtrooms as well as parking for judicial officers.

“They've identified a piece of county-owned property on Monterey Street that we've used as offices for various of our departments over the years," explained Gibson.

Two-and-a-half acres are needed for the project development which would improve security, relieve overcrowding, and have ADA-accessible spaces and dependable physical infrastructure.

Gibson says the funding would all come from the state to the courts and this project is one of the highest priorities for the judicial branch.

The project is currently in the acquisition phase. Construction is estimated to begin in January 2026 and be completed by December 2029.

Read more about the project on The Judicial Branch of California website.