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Valley Focus | San Fernando

Officials Rededicate Repaired Courthouse

January 16, 1998|EVELYN LARRUBIA

After years of delays, repairs are officially complete at the once red-tagged San Fernando Courthouse, one of the many victims of the Northridge earthquake.

In a rededication ceremony Thursday, politicians and court officials in dark suits rejoiced in the much anticipated homecoming.

"It's been a long time coming, but it's better late than never," county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said.

After the Jan. 17, 1994, quake, San Fernando Municipal Courts were scattered in three locations in the city, said Presiding Judge Veronica McBeth of Los Angeles Municipal Court. Files were kept in the police shooting range.

Superior courts, prosecutors and public defenders were moved into the Van Nuys Courthouse "temporarily."

Repairs did not begin until November 1996 because of a lengthy battle with insurance companies that was finally settled after a lawsuit brought by Yaroslavsky.

The final cost: $16.07 million.

Reconstruction was delayed so long that few of the officials who spoke at Thursday's event were in their posts at the time of quake.

Like the new carpet, ceilings and wheelchair-accessible witness stands in the mission-style building, new too are the San Fernando supervising judge, head public defender and head district attorney.

Boxes were piled high Thursday in most offices as employees began to move in. The courthouse opens for business on Tuesday.

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