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Ground-breaking set for Huntsville federal courthouse

Federal and local officials are set to participate in a ground-breaking ceremony for Huntsville’s new state-of-the-art federal courthouse.

The groundbreaking will take place 10:30 a.m., Sept. 19 at 660 Gallatin St.

Highlighting the ceremony will be U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Tuscaloosa), who spearheaded the effort to ensure Alabama’s largest city boasted a new federal courthouse.

Mayor Tommy Battle, Judge Liles C. Burke, Public Buildings Service Deputy Commissioner Allison Azevedo, and Judge Lynwood Smith will also speak.

Smith, U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Alabama, thanked Alabama’s senior senator for his leadership in securing the funds that made the courthouse a reality.

“Groundbreaking will mark an important milestone for the fastest-growing region of Alabama,” said Smith. “Years of planning, led by Richard Shelby, the longest-serving United States senator in Alabama history, made this event possible. Judge Burke and I are grateful for Senator Shelby’s consistent support and funding, which resulted in a state-of-the-art courthouse for the benefit of the citizens of north Alabama.

“When opened, the classical landmark will stand strong and beautiful for many generations to come.”

The 123,000-square-foot courthouse will be home to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama and the Bankruptcy Court of Northern Alabama. It will replace the Holmes Avenue courthouse, which was built in 1932.

In addition to providing workspace for other federal agencies, the courthouse will also host certain operations for the U.S. Marshals Service and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In keeping with the traditional, Western-based architectural style of government buildings across the state, the courthouse will be built in a neoclassical design, which will display a large pedimented entry portico flanked by gently arcing symmetrical wings.

The project will incorporate contemporary sustainability features all while maintaining classical organizational, proportional, and design elements.

Once completed, the three-story courthouse will include five courtrooms and six judges’ chambers. The new courthouse will sit on a five-acre property at the intersection of Lowe Avenue and Gallatin Street in downtown Huntsville.

Last year, Birmingham-based Brasfield & Gorrie was awarded a $79.8 million contract to construct the courthouse.

Steve White of Fentress Architects in Washington, D.C. is the project’s lead designer, according to the U.S. General Services Administration. Payne Design Group Architects of Montgomery provided bridging architectural services.

Dylan Smith is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

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