THE new ACT Law Courts are one step closer following last week's announcement that Juris Partnership has been selected as the preferred proponent to deliver the ACT's first Public Private Partnership (PPP).
The project, with a capital cost of $150 million, will help to meet the Territory's needs for the next 50 years in a more functional, flexible and sustainable way, and create about 350 jobs throughout the construction phase of the project.
Juris Partnership is a consortium of companies with national and international experience in delivering PPPs, including Laing O'Rourke Australia Construction Pty Ltd, Macquarie Capital Group Limited, Programmed Facility Management Pty Ltd and Lyons architects.
Under the PPP contract for the new ACT Law Courts, Juris will be responsible for the design, construction, financing and maintaining the precinct for the next 25 years.
"The new ACT Law Courts will accommodate the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court, Magistrates Court and Childrens Court with a four story new link building fronting Vernon Circle joining the existing Magistrates and refurbished Supreme Court buildings," Attorney-General Simon Corbell said.
"There will be an increase from the current 17 court rooms to capacity for 22, with 18 planned for immediate operation. Five of the new courtrooms will be fitted to accommodate juries, almost doubling the current capacity of three.
"The new courts precinct will feature private meeting rooms for lawyers to confer with their clients, something that has not existed in ACT courts previously, as well as having a dedicated witness suite, interpreters' facilities and a framework to support the hearing impaired.
"The new ACT Law Courts will also promote best practice facilities for witnesses and their families, have dedicated spaces for community service and domestic violence support agencies and a mediation hub with facilities capable of hosting multi-party mediations.
"Importantly the facility will be will be certified to a 5-star green star standard by the Green Building Council of Australia. Some of the environment features included in the design include the installation of a 110KW capacity solar photo-voltaic array, solar water heating, rainwater harvesting and end of journey facilities for cyclists. A new integrated heating and cooling plant arrangement and improved lighting systems will also contribute to the energy efficiency of the new precinct."
The ACT Government said it had worked closely with Juris through the tender process to respect and celebrate the heritage of the existing Supreme Court building in the development of the design for the new precinct.
Key heritage features that will be maintained include the marble cladding, the internal atrium and the inscribed 'Law Courts of the Australian Capital Territory'. The wood panelling in the original six courtrooms will also be given a new lease of life and used in the interior design.
The preferred proponent has been selected to enter into final negotiations with the territory with a contract to be awarded by the end of the year.
Works approval has been lodged with the National Capital Authority and a three week public consultation is currently under way. A decision on works approval is expected in late November.