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Court proposal selected
Fredericksburg selects First Choice as builder of new courthouse facilities

 The First Choice site is located at the corner of Princess Anne and Charlotte streets in downtown Fredericksburg.
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Date published: 9/22/2011


Fredericksburg's new courthouse facilities will be built by the design-build team of First Choice Public-Private Partners.

City Manager Beverly Cameron announced yesterday that First Choice ranked higher than W.M. Jordan and Donley's design-build firms.

The 78,500-square-foot courthouse will be built at 701-707 Princess Anne St., where the current juvenile and domestic relations court is housed.

It will house the circuit court and clerk, the general district court and clerk, and the Sheriff's Office.

The existing General District Court Building--across Charlotte Street from the new site--will be renovated to house the juvenile court and auxiliary court service functions.

Cameron declined to say what the cost would be for the proposal.

But Mayor Tom Tomzak said it will be less expensive than the original cost of $36 million proposed by First Choice.

The cost is one of the main issues that will be worked out within the next few weeks.

Using the state's Public Private Partnership Act, the city initially received eight proposals, and narrowed it to five, then to three over the last several months.

In a closed work session Tuesday night, the council ranked the last three options based on seven criteria.

Yesterday, before making the announcement, Cameron notified each of the principals of the city's decision.

"Obviously we're thrilled and very excited about being selected and look forward to doing the project," said Raymond Booth, the special-projects manager for English Construction.

Cameron said First Choice ranked at the top of the list, based on factors including overall project benefit, design, location, team, cost, phasing and disruption, and schedule.

Next, city staff will work with First Choice to come up with a comprehensive agreement. Cameron said he expects that to take several weeks. When that's agreed on, City Council has to approve it.

First Choice's team is made up of English Construction Co., Moseley Architects and Glave & Holmes Architecture.

First Choice has worked with the city in the past to build James Monroe High School, Lafayette Upper Elementary School and the police headquarters.

Members of City Council had mixed feelings about the design selected.

Tomzak said he thought they picked the one that best met the needs of the city.

The council will have to approve how the courthouse is financed.

Council member Brad Ellis said he didn't agree with the proposal chosen.

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