SF Plan Includes $290 Million Jail
(04/16/2010)

SAN FRANCISCO — City officials introduced preliminary plans for a 10-year, multimillion-dollar project that could result in the construction of new police and fire facilities, a new jail, and potentially a new San Francisco Superior Courthouse.

The plan would ultimately replace the 52-year-old Hall of Justice, a facility that suffers from seismic hazards, obsolete systems, space limitations and code issues.

On June 8, city residents will be asked to approve a $412 million general obligation bond that would allow San Francisco to construct a $240 million police command center and fire station.

The new 265,000-square-foot facility would replace several divisions located in the HOJ, a building that houses jail facilities, emergency service personnel offices and courts. Once new station is completed, city officials would begin planning a new $482 million jailhouse to replace the facilities on the sixth and seventh floors of the HOJ.

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Planners have identified a preferred site for the new 800-bed replacement jail adjacent to the HOJ. Depending on the approval of future bond measures, preliminary planning on the jail could begin as early as 2012, with construction starting in mid-2016 and finishing in 2019.

"The Hall of Justice was not built to the same standards used today," says Brian Strong, program director for San Francisco's Capital Planning Program. "It's seismically unsafe.

“Experts believe the HOJ would be red-tagged after a major earthquake,” Strong says. “For a building that holds 800 prisoners, a police command center and courts, that would be a real problem.” 

Construction of the new police and fire station could begin as early as 2012, with an expected finish date of 2014. City officials are working with architects and engineers from Mark Cavagnero Associates in San Francisco and Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum, as well as Charles Pankow Builders Ltd., to design and build the $240 million police and fire facility.

The $412 million bond issue would also include funds to seismically retrofit several city fire stations and upgrade the city’s high-pressure water system for fire fighting.

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