The Future of Lowell’s Superior Courthouse

Yesterday’s Lowell Sun editorial reminds us that with the new judicial center on schedule, the current superior courthouse, located at 360 Gorham Street near the end of the Lowell Connector, will eventually be vacated. The state has invested substantial amounts of money in the building over the past decade, replacing boilers and windows, repairing the roof and now adding an elevator. Even with all that, the building is old – the rear portion was constructed in 1848, the front in 1894 – and any reuse of the structure will require substantial improvements in electrical service at a minimum. The building’s strategic location at the end of the Connector, just across the South Common from the train station, and only a short walk from downtown and the Hamilton Canal District, make it a critical structure.

The state has standard procedures for buildings that fall into disuse, but the community must also play its part by keeping the question “what’s going to happen to the Superior Courthouse?” on the mind of everyone as the city’s judicial operations are shuffled to new facilities in the coming years.

One point of clarification, construction of the new judicial center will not commence until the summer of 2012, not this summer as has been reported. But all accounts have the building taking 30 months to construct and being completed in late 2014, early 2015, which, if you do the math, would corroborate the summer of 2012 start date.