Pima County Courthouse Renovation Honored as Public Works Project of Year

The Arizona chapter of the American Public Works Association has named the Pima County Historic Courthouse renovation as its 2022 Public Works Project of the Year in the category of historical restoration/preservation for projects costing $25 million to $75 million.

In a letter to Lisa Josker, director of Pima County’s Facilities Management Department, which oversaw the project, Jeanne Sapon of APWA wrote: “This award is a very high honor and one in which you should take great pride. There is no greater distinction than to be recognized by your peers for your achievements and professionalism.”

Work on the courthouse began in 2017 and was completed in November 2021. The project cost $35 million and involved multiple phases, from a building assessment and an exterior restoration to interior improvements.

Also being honored alongside Facilities Management will be general contractor Lloyd Construction Company Inc. and the architectural firm Poster Mirto McDonald.

In response to the prize, Facilities Management and its partners said, “This award represents Pima County’s dedication to providing high-quality public service. Pima County and its design and construction partners could not be more proud of the accomplishment of delivering a beautiful, adaptive reuse facility that is specifically for the public to visit and enjoy.”

The courthouse’s two major tenants, the University of Arizona’s Alfie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum and Visit Tucson, reimbursed Pima County for the costs of their improvements. The building and its grounds are also home to the January 8th Memorial; the Southern Arizona Heritage & Visitor Center, which is operated by Pima County’s Attractions and Tourism Department; and the County’s administration offices.

The courthouse also contains the courtroom — restored in historically accurate detail — where infamous bank robber John Dillinger and three of his gang members were arraigned in 1934.

The county created this video after the renovation was completed to highlight some of the improvements.

“The Pima County Historic Courthouse is a nearly 100-year-old landmark in the heart of downtown Tucson that has been restored as an economic-development hub that promotes attractions and tourism for the region,” Facilities Management said. “After decades of being a government-only building, the adaptive reuse of the Historic Courthouse created a publicly accessible facility that houses programs reflecting the culture and heritage of Southern Arizona for the community and visitors.”

Facilities Management and its partners will be honored with statuettes at a luncheon Aug. 4 during APWA’s statewide conference at the El Conquistador Tucson. By winning the state award, the Historic Courthouse project will also be eligible for APWA’s national awards.

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