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New federal courthouse opens Monday

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(Press Release) —  The U.S.  General  Services  Administration  and the U.S. District Court announce the opening of the new courthouse for the U.S. District Court of the Northern Mariana Islands on Monday, July 27, 2020.

The new courthouse, located in Gualo Rai,  Saipan,  is  the  result  of  a  20-year  lease  between  GSA  and  the Marianas  Management Corporation.

The three-story courthouse houses the U.S. District Court of the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Pretrial and Probation Office, the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Federal  Protective  Service.  The courthouse  has one courtroom, two judges’ chambers, a jury assembly room and office space for building tenants.

Amid this current Covid-19 pandemic, a “soft-opening”  ceremony will take place with building management and tenants only. While wearing masks and social distancing, the building tenants will gather on Monday, July 27, 10 a.m., to watch the United States and Commonwealth flags raised  at the new courthouse  for the first time by the Manta Ray Battalion Color Guard from Saipan  Southern  High  School.  The  national  anthem will be performed  by Deputy  Clerk  Aiko Erungel.  A grand-opening  celebration  with dignitaries from the U.S. Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit,  GSA,  the Northern Mariana Island government  and the community,  previously planned for this month, has been rescheduled to a date yet to be determined  in 2021.

The 35,696 square-foot courthouse meets current requirements for the judiciary’s functional and security  needs.  The  design  also  incorporates  innovative  lighting  and  landscaping,  energy efficient  fixtures  and  wastewater  technologies  projected  to  realize  future  cost  savings  and conserve resources. The courtroom with unique skylights and offices with western-facing lagoon views.

Since 1989, the District Court has convened in the Horiguchi Building in Garapan, Saipan. The last court proceeding in the Horiguchi building was held on July 23, 2020.

“This opening represents a great collaboration  to overcome many challenges and incorporates space  and  technology  innovations  to  meet  the  operational  requirements  of  the  U.S.  District Court in the Mariana Islands,” said GSA’s Pacific Rim Public Buildings Service Regional Commissioner  Dan  R.  Brown.  “We  deliver  public  buildings  which  are  representative  of  the federal government  and, most importantly, serve the mission of our partner agencies.”

“I am happy  and  excited  to finally  have  our new, beautiful,  state-of-the-art  courthouse,”  said Chief  Judge  Ramona  V. Manglona,  U.S.  District  Court  of the Northern Marianas Islands.  “It’s been a long time coming. It was my goal, from day one of becoming chief judge, to get a new home for us that met the minimum standards of a federal courtroom and security protocols for both  occupants   and  visitors.  The  building  that  GSA  has  secured  for  us  satisfies  those requirements  and exceeds our expectations. Thank you/si Yu’us Ma’ase to everyone that made it possible.”

About  GSA

The mission  of GSA is to deliver  value  and savings  in real estate,  acquisition, technology, and other mission support services across the Government.

About the District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands

The mission of the District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands is to serve the community by ensuring equal access to justice for all  by  providing  an  impartial  forum  to resolve  disputes  in a fair, effective  and timely  manner pursuant to the rule of law. The District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands was established by an act of Congress in 1977 and became operational in January 1978. The District Court has the same jurisdiction to hear federal cases as U.S. District Courts, including bankruptcy cases. Appeals are taken to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

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