Union Democrat staff

California officials and local dignitaries were among those who attended an invitation-only groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday afternoon for the $65 million Tuolumne County Superior Courthouse, located at the county’s Law and Justice Center across Highway 108 from Walmart in Sonora.

The ceremony was previously scheduled to be held on May 21 and announced to the public, but was postponed due to rainy weather at the time.

Donald Segerstrom, presiding judge of Tuolumne County Superior Court, addressed the roughly 40 people in attendance and thanked several by name.

Funding for the project comes entirely from the state, which operates the superior courts in all 58 counties.

Construction was planned to coincide with work on the new county jail that’s being built on an adjacent parcel, though a lack of state funding left the project on ice for about a year.

Prep work and site grading has been going on at the site for several months.

The courthouse will be about 61,500 square feet and consolide the five courtrooms between the two existing courthouses in downtown Sonora.

Officials have said the current buildings, which were constructed in 1898 and 1927, are outdated and lack modern safety features, such as an elevator and holding cells for in-custody defendants.

Completion of the new courthouse is slated for March 2021, according to the California Judicial Branch.

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