The new building will have five courtrooms and will also include adequately sized jury deliberation rooms, a self-help center, a children's waiting room, a family court mediation area, attorney interview and witness waiting rooms, enough courtrooms for all judges, and ADA accessibility.

A new courthouse was part of the Siskiyou County Court’s master plan as far back as 2002, and now, 17 years later, the new courthouse project is finally underway. Retired and current court staff, county officials, law enforcement officers and others attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the new building on Friday, March 1.

William Davis, Presiding Judge of the Superior Court of Siskiyou County, provided opening remarks on Friday. He noted that the only way projects like the new Siskiyou County Courthouse come to fruition is through the leadership of the state legislature.

John Wordlaw, Chief Administrative Officer for the Judicial Council of California, came to Yreka from San Francisco to attend the ceremony. He told the crowd that the new Siskiyou County Courthouse is one of the most important courthouse projects in the state.

The judicial branch’s capital-outlay plan ranked the courthouse as an “immediate need,” making it among the branch’s highest-priority infrastructure projects. Senate Bill 1407, which was enacted in 2008, provided $5 billion in bond funding for new and renovated courthouses using court fees, penalties, and assessments.

Retired Court Executive Officer Larry Gobelman, retired Siskiyou County Judge Robert Kaster and former Yreka City Council member and Siskiyou County Supervisor Grace Bennett also spoke on Friday.

“This is a community that can do things,” Gobelman said. “We may not always have the most resources, but we get things done.” He spoke about the added security the new courthouse will bring, and recalled some times in the current building’s history when security was compromised.

The most notable incident occurred in 2000, when then 68 year old Mount Shasta resident Edward Lansdale pulled a gun in the courthouse hallway, shooting and injuring multiple people, before ultimately killing himself.

Enhanced safety features in the new courthouse will include on-site holding cells and separate hallways for moving in-custody defendants through the courthouse.

The new building will have five courtrooms and will also include adequately sized jury deliberation rooms, a self-help center, a children's waiting room, a family court mediation area, attorney interview and witness waiting rooms, enough courtrooms for all judges, and ADA accessibility.

According to the Judicial Council of California, “The building’s sustainability features are expected to satisfy the California Energy Code and qualify it for a LEED Silver certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. This is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance ‘green’ buildings. The courthouse’s sustainability features will include drought-tolerant landscaping, efficient irrigation and plumbing systems, and energy-efficient lighting.”

Bennett related, “It’s amazing that there was enough fortitude and commitment from everyone to make this happen.” She thanked the Yreka citizens who agreed to sell their homes that were previously located on the new courthouse site. “It wasn’t a pleasant thing for some of the people who sold their homes,” Davis said. But thanks to their cooperation, the site is cleared and ready for the new 67,549 square foot project.

The new Siskiyou County Courthouse is currently slated for completion in winter of 2020.