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Issued: Friday, 10 October 2014
The Department of Justice has finalised tenders for the upgrades of Wagga Wagga and Wollongong Courthouses with both projects set to deliver a major boost to the local economy.
The $15 million upgrade of the Wollongong Courthouse has been awarded to local construction company Edwards Constructions which has been operating in the Illawarra, Shoalhaven, Southern Highlands and Far South Coast regions since 1981.
The family owned business was recently recognised by the 2014 Master Builders South Eastern Region Awards with six awards including Best Commercial Building over $7 million.
One of Australia’s largest privately owned mid-tier construction companies Project Coordination has won the tender for the $17 million upgrade of the Wagga Wagga Courthouse.
Project Coordination has been operating since 1975 and has won 42 Building in Excellence awards since 1991 including national awards for Parliament House, Staverton Place and Rolfe Audi retail complex in the ACT.
Both projects are due to start before the end of October providing hundreds of jobs for local tradesman and operators during construction.
Employing local people is a key priority for the Department of Justice when investing in major construction projects in regional areas.
These projects will be the largest renovations since the Wagga and Wollongong courthouses were built in the late 1800s, giving residents access to some of the best justice facilities in the state.
In Wagga, the upgrade will more than double the footprint of the courthouse from 1,535 to 3,655 square metres including a new two-storey courthouse next to the current facility.
While the Wollongong renovation will involve reconfiguring the layout of the courthouse to increase the number of courtrooms from six to seven with the addition of a non-custodial courtroom to case manage criminal and civil matters and conduct tribunal hearings.
Both projects are expected to be completed by early 2016.
Other major features of the Wollongong project include:
Re-opening the original entrance in Market Street giving it a contemporary new look with a glass façade and installing a lift and handrails to improve disability access;
A new registry to provide simpler, faster and easier access to court services;
Six new interview rooms;
Modified layout to prevent prisoners coming into contact with other court users;
New safe room for victims of domestic violence;
Two remote witness rooms to allow victims of sexual assault to give evidence without having to face their alleged attacker;
Two new jury deliberation rooms and one new assembly room; and
Other major features of the Wagga project include:
The upgrade of two local courtrooms, with an enclosed prisoner dock in one and deliberation room in another to host District or Supreme Court trials as necessary;
An increase in interview rooms from four to 12;
Modified layout to prevent prisoners coming into contact with court users; and
A new safe room for victims of domestic violence.