Superior Court of CA, Plumas-Sierra

Client: Administrative Office of the Courts, Office of Court Construction and Management

Size: 7,300 sq. ft.

Cost: $4,500,000

Completion: Summer 2009

Delivery Method: Design-Bid-Build

Location: Portola, CA

Service: Site Acquisition, Programming, Planning, Architectural Design, Construction Administration

Principal-in-Charge: Mike Corrick

Senior Project Manager: Eric Fadness

Project Architect: Michael Patrick

Director of Design: Andy McPherson

Project Manager: Lorenzo Lopez

General Contractor: SW Allen

Construction Manager: Kitchell

Mechanical Engineering: Capital Engineering Consultants

Electrical Engineering: The Engineering Enterprise

Civil Engineering: RSC Engineering

Structural Engineering: CYS

Cost Estimating: Sierra West Group

Audiovisual/Acoustical/Low Voltage: Smith Fause & McDonald

Landscape: Wild Landscape


The Plumas-Sierra Courthouse is the first multi-jurisdictional courthouse in California, strategically located to serve Portola, Loyalton and the Highway 395 Corridor, which becomes isolated due to snow and geography in the winter. The single story building, a replacement to an existing facility in Portola, accommodates one jury courtroom, chambers, jury deliberation, clerks’ area and a self-help center. While the design and planning represent contemporary thinking, the attractive finish materials are based on regional examples ensuring that the building fits harmoniously in its environment and will aid in minimizing maintenance and repairs. Courthouse staff have commented on an improvement in public relations  and a noticeable increase in visitor respect because the design represents the community and has been adopted by the people it serves.

The functions within the courthouse are organized volumetrically, assisting visitors with way finding, separating staff from public circulation and ensuring the structure appears civic in nature. The orientation of the roof plane allows for expansion but does not compromise the ability to shed snow, which is critical for this location.

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  • 2011 AIA/AAJ Justice Facilities Review
  • 2010 California Construction Magazine – Best Small Projects in Northern California
  • 2010 Western Council of Construction Consumers – Distinguished Project Award
  • 2000 – 2010 National Center for State Courts Retrospective of Courthouse Design