Federal courthouse building 60 percent done

Wednesday, August 9, 2006
Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson, right, stopped to admire the spaciousness and architecture of one of two courtrooms located on the fourth floor of the new United States Courthouse. (Don Frazier)

The view from a window on the fourth floor of the new federal courthouse impressed U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson enough to take a second glance.

As Emerson gazed out the window that provides a view of the bridge dedicated to her late husband, Bill Emerson, she had one thing to say -- "spectacular."

The congresswoman stopped in Cape Girardeau on Tuesday to tour the new courthouse, among other things. A lot has changed since Emerson visited the building last August. "It was bare bones the last time I was here," she said.

Construction of the 150,000-square-foot, four-story building at Independence and Frederick streets is about 60 percent complete, said Jim Snedegar, the project construction manager for the General Services Administration, which oversees construction and operation of federal buildings.

"The backbone of the building is done," Snedegar said. "All that's left is building some of the interior walls, painting and finishing up some of the ceilings and floors."

The $50 million building is still on schedule to be complete in December. Tenants -- including Emerson and U.S. Sens. Kit Bond and Jim Talent -- can move in shortly after. And a grand opening ceremony will follow after the first of the year.

Snedegar took Emerson through the finished atrium, which has black and white marble floors. He led the congresswoman up to the fourth floor and into vaulted-ceiling courtrooms.

And he pointed out a special feature of the building -- all of the paneled floors are raised eight inches above the concrete foundation to allow wiring to run under them.

A long hallway runs along the front of the fourth floor in the new courthouse. Huge windows provide visitors a view of the future Southeast Missouri State University River Campus and downtown Cape Girardeau.

"The most defining features of this courthouse have been given to the public. Visitors can come to the atrium, and see this incredible view," Snedegar said from the fourth-floor hallway.

Other interior offices will house a U.S. attorney, U.S. district court clerk, U.S. bankruptcy court clerk, U.S. Marshals Service and Homeland Security.


335-6611, extension 246

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