News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

September 6, 2007

New federal building slated for downtown

Facility will house district, bankruptcy courts, other agencies

(Continued)

TERRE HAUTE —

The federal government deemed the current courthouse, at the corner of Seventh and Cherry streets, unsuitable after September 2001, when new security guidelines and setback requirements were enacted. The GSA’s lease on the current federal building expires in September 2009.

The GSA in 2004 sought and received four proposals for a new federal building, initially seeking a new federal courthouse between 90,000 and 135,000 square feet.

The GSA rejected those proposals and in March 2006, the GSA published a notice saying, through a competitive procurement, it wants to lease about 12,500 to 15,400 square feet of space for the courts and other tenants.

In its agreement with ISU, the federal government is to upgrade the current federal building, including heating and air conditioning, prior to the transfer to ISU. More than $6 million in federal funds had been secured for work on the building by 2005.

In 2005, ISU officials estimated the total project for the new College of Business at $18 million, with ISU to obtain more than $12 million in private funding.

The GSA still has a “phase two” construction contract for work on the interior of the current federal building. “That contract has not been issued, but will be shortly,” Wilkinson said. The government already has done work to the outside of the building and has painted part of the interior.

Federal agencies occupy 13,806 square feet and pay a total of $312,100 per year in rent at the current federal building. The breakdown is $274,000 a year in rent by the courts and probation for 12,118 square feet; $33,000 a year by the U.S. Marshal’s Service for 1,460 square feet; and $5,100 a year by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for 228 square feet.

“That is not significantly more than what they will be paying and the space is very comparable in total size and they are moving into new space. It also meets new security requirements, which means setbacks from adjoining buildings and streets,” Wilkinson said.

Handley said “keeping the federal courts downtown was an important consideration. It also was essential to find a suitable site and a developer who could design and build a facility that met the government’s special needs and security requirements. All that took longer than expected.”

Howard Greninger can be reached at (812) 231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com

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