The Los Angeles Superior Court’s Mental Health Courthouse is being closed until further notice, effective Thursday, because of structural damage to the aging facility’s roof.
One official called the facility the worst courthouse in the state.
All operations for the courthouse at 1150 N. San Fernando Road are being temporarily relocated to the Metropolitan Courthouse, at 1945 S. Hill St. in Los Angeles.
Carolyn Kuhl, the presiding judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court system, told City news Service “it’s terribly disruptive and we really don’t know how the operation will work in the Metropolitan Courthouse.”
She called the Mental Health Courthouse “really thoroughly inadequate for the work we were doing there” and said it is, in her judgment, “the worst courthouse in the state.”
“We are not going to move back into that facility,” Kuhl said.
The presiding judge said an analysis is being done to determine where the Mental Health Courthouse could be housed in the future, and that a central location is “definitely better.”
The building’s property manager noticed sagging in some of the ceiling tiles in one of the courtrooms, and a contractor who inspected the damage discovered “some actual structural damage to the roof in that area,” according to Blaine Corren, a public affairs analyst with the Judicial Council of California.
Further damage was subsequently discovered in adjacent areas of the courthouse, which was built in 1940 for use as a factory, Corren said.
Structural engineers are expected to inspect the building, with a determination expected to be made then of what it will take to repair the damage, according to Corren.
Los Angeles County court officials have listed the Mental Health Courthouse as the most immediate and critical need for its court system, and want to build a new courthouse in Hollywood that would replace the old facility, according to documents provided by the Judicial Council of California.
Officials say construction fund redirections stemming from the state’s fiscal crisis and declining funds from reduced case filings and traffic amnesty have caused a drop in funding available to replace substandard court facilities.
—City News Service
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