The Thunder Bay Consolidated Court House

The new courthouse will be located in Thunder Bay’s downtown south core and will improve access to justice in the city and the wider region by consolidating the services of the two existing courthouses, the courts of the Superior Court of Justice, located on Camelot Street, and the courts of the Ontario Court of Justice, on East Arthur Street, within one modern facility. The new facility will increase the total number of courtrooms available and provide better public access and security.

Plenary Justice Thunder Bay LP has signed a 30 year contract with the Province to design, build, finance and maintain the new Thunder Bay Consolidated Courthouse on behalf of the Ministry of the Attorney General. Plenary Justice’s construction partner, Bird Design-Build Construction Inc., mobilized on site and started initial construction activity in December 2010.

Plenary Justice brings a wealth of experience to the project, and is currently in the development or operations stage on seven other infrastructure projects in Ontario including the Ministry of Government Services Data Centre, North Bay Regional Health Centre, the Niagara Health System New Health-Care Complex and Walker Family Cancer Centre, and the Bridgepoint Hospital Redevelopment Project.

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One of the challenges in designing Thunder Bay’s new courthouse has been to create a harmony between the building’s design and its physical surroundings. To meet this challenge, the project architects have looked to Thunder Bay’s natural environment for their inspiration.

The natural elements of the Thunder Bay region will find representation in the courthouse’s massing and organization and in the materials used throughout the building. The landforms of the Canadian Shield that surrounds Thunder Bay are echoed in the form of the building. Stone and wood will be used prominently at the building’s base for their durability and for their symbolic value, to convey an impression of substance and permanence that affirms the dignity and authority of the courts. The predominantly glass tower that surmounts the base will feature a glazed curtain wall with textured articulation on the building’s north face, designed to evoke the region’s many waterfalls.

A civic plaza on the site’s northeast corner will serve as a ceremonial space of assembly for the courthouse leading to the public entrance. The plaza will be augmented by a contemplative public space located off Chapples Lane and linear, pedestrian walkways along the site perimeter.

Within the building, the public entrance will open onto an ample public lobby faced in natural stone. The lobby, in turn, gives onto corridors that will offer well defined, accessible circulation within public and private zones. The maximal use of windows throughout each floor will allow daylight into public areas, corridors, staff work areas and offices and provide views of Thunder Bay’s Sleeping Giant and other natural landmarks from upper floors.

Start of construction  December 2010

Substantial completion  Fall 2013

Project highlights Highlights of the Thunder Bay Consolidated Courthouse project include:



 A new seven storey building (including mechanical penthouse) with space to accommodate 15 courtrooms including a Multiple Accused High Security courtroom and four conference/settlement

suites.

 Barrier‐free design including public access to courtrooms, infrared hearing assistance and barrier‐free witness stand and jury box.

 Enhanced accommodation for interpretation including one jury room permanently equipped for simultaneous interpretation and two portable interpretation booths.

 A glazed atrium that will bring natural light deep into the building.

 A commitment to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standard, including focus on energy efficiency, a high quality indoor environment through building material selections and green housekeeping practices.

 Designed with capacity for expansion and internal flexibility to ensure maximum usefulness throughout its lifetime.

Upcoming construction activities for the period November 15 to December 30, 2011, include the following.

 Underground drainage and methane extraction systems will becompleted.

 The ramp into the basement level from Archibald Street will be formedand walls poured.

 Pouring of concrete structural slabs in the basement and lower leveldecks will commence.

 Masonry walls for partitions in the basement will commence.

 Structural framing and metal decking will progress to level six of the building.

 Foundation waterproofing will be completed and backfilling will commence.

 Construction of elevator and stair shafts will continue to level seven.

 Slab pours for the concrete decks will be completed to level five. Important Notice The last remaining steel piling work on the courthouse site will be completed beginning the week of November 21st. Piling will take place in the southeast corner of the site in the vicinity of Chapples Lanes and Brodie Street. This work will be of relatively short duration, lasting approximately three weeks


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Start of construction December 2010

Substantial completion Fall 2013

Highlights of the Thunder Bay Consolidated Courthouse project include:

  • A new seven storey building (including mechanical penthouse) with space to accommodate 15 courtrooms including a Multiple Accused High Security courtroom and four conference/settlement suites.

  • Barrier‐free design including public access to courtrooms, infrared hearing assistance and barrier‐free witness stand and jury box.

  • Enhanced accommodation for interpretation including one jury room permanently equipped for simultaneous interpretation and two portable interpretation booths.

  • A glazed atrium that will bring natural light deep into the building.

  • A commitment to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standard, including focus on energy efficiency, a high quality indoor environment through building material selections and green housekeeping practices.

The future courthouse will consolidate Thunder Bay's two existing courthouses: the courts of the Superior Court of Justice, located on Camelot Street, and the courts of the Ontario Court of Justice, on East Arthur Street. The new courthouse, to be located in Thunder Bay's downtown south core, will improve access to justice in the city by consolidating the services of the existing courthouses within one modern facility, increasing the number of courtrooms available and providing better public access and security.

The construction project will boost the regional economy by creating and supporting thousands of jobs. At the peak of construction, it is estimated that 225 workers will be on site daily. Construction of the new courthouse is expected to be completed in late 2013.

The Thunder Bay Consolidated Courthouse project will be delivered using an Alternative Financing and Procurement (AFP) model. Plenary Justice will receive annual payments from the Province over a 30-year period to cover construction, building maintenance, life-cycle repair and renewal, and project financing. Life-cycle repair and renewal will ensure that the courthouse building and surrounding landscape (such as the heating and cooling systems, windows, floors and roofing structures, and hard landscape) are kept in excellent working condition over the 30-year period. The annual payments are comparable to a fixed-rate mortgage, with maintenance and repair expenses included. The total cost of the contract with Plenary Justice is approximately $473.5 million after 30 years. In today's dollars, this is equivalent to approximately $247.7 million.