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NMI breaks ground on new US courthouse

A GROUNDBREAKING ceremony was held Thursday at the former CMS site in Gualo Rai to mark the start of the construction of the new District Court for the NMI building.

In a statement, the U.S. General Services Administration said the new courthouse design “incorporates innovative lighting and landscaping, energy efficient fixtures and wastewater technologies projected to realize future cost savings and conserve resources.”

The current courthouse is located at the Horiguchi Building in Garapan. In July 2015, the GSA announced that the federal courthouse and the local offices of the U.S. Department of Justice would move to the Marina Heights Business Park in Puerto Rico. But the plan didn’t materialize.

Joining GSA officials at the groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday were court and CNMI officials as well as Marianas Management Corp. officers. MMC is the real estate and property management division of Joeten Enterprises Inc.

Norman T. Tenorio of MMC said the project consists of a new 53,000-square foot, three-story courthouse with a basement and two adjoining commercial buildings.

The building will house the district court, the U.S. Probation Office, the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Federal Protective Service.

Tenorio said the new courthouse will be the 1st Gold LEED certified structure in the CNMI based on its sustainable, energy and resource-efficient design.

Construction is anticipated to take one and a half years and is expected to be completed in the summer of 2019.

GSA’s Lupe Flores said the new courthouse will meet the court’s functional and security needs.

“We recognize that we have an obligation to increase the efficiency of the federal government by reducing the cost of operation and the environmental impact of its buildings,” she added. “This new courthouse…is no exception.”

District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona said the “special occasion is a significant milestone in our quest for a new courthouse.”

She said it was then-Chief Judge Alex R. Munson who contracted GSA to assess the current courthouse in Garapan which, she added, was determined to be “the least safe courthouse in the nation.”

In 2010, she said a cargo van crashed into the ground floor of the courthouse which prompted everyone involved to prioritize a new courthouse building.

As a result, GSA decided to build a new federal building on Saipan, she added.

The new courthouse is the result of a 20-year lease between the federal government and Marianas Management Corp., she said.

Bishop Ryan Jimenez blessed the construction site. Future World Corp. is the construction contractor, and the building was designed by EXP (Chicago), N15 Architects of Saipan and WSP Global Inc. of Honolulu.

Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/100716-nmi-breaks-ground-on-new-us-courthouse

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