State OKs deal to buy land for new Sonoma County courthouse

State officials approved a $5.2 million deal Wednesday to buy land in Santa Rosa for a new $178.7 million Sonoma County courthouse.

The state Public Works Board approved the agreement to purchase 6.8 acres of bargain-priced land from the county at its main campus north of Steele Lane. It includes the site of the former county jail, which was demolished in 2010.

On the old jail site, the state has proposed building a 173,500-square-foot, six-story court building that would replace the Hall of Justice next door.

That 47-year-old structure, state officials say, is outdated and undersized and cannot be renovated to serve court needs, including modern security features, larger jury assembly and deliberation rooms, in-custody holding areas and adult and children's waiting rooms.

The new facility will feature 15 criminal courtrooms, 450 above- and below-ground parking spaces and consolidated criminal, traffic, juvenile dependency and probate proceedings.

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