New State Courts Towers on track for 2020 opening

The new State Courts Towers in Chinatown is on schedule to be fully operational by the first quarter of next year. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - Standing out from its Chinatown neighbours at 178m, the new State Courts Towers is now the tallest government building in Singapore.

A ceremony, officiated by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, was held on Friday (Jan 25) to mark the completion of structural works for the 35-storey building, which comprises two interconnected towers.

During the event, a drone was launched to place the symbolic final amount of concrete to "top out" the structure.

The building is on schedule to be fully operational by the first quarter of next year.

The $450 million project, which started in 2014, will now shift to the final phase of interior construction of the two towers.

One tower will be fitted out with 53 courtrooms and the same number of hearing chambers to operate as the Court Tower, said Presiding Judge of the State Courts, Justice See Kee Oon.

This is an increase from 37 courtrooms and 40 chambers in the existing nine-storey State Courts building.

(From left) State Courts Deputy Presiding Judge Jennifer Marie, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon and State Courts Presiding Judge See Kee Oon at a launching ceremony for the new State Courts Towers, on Jan 25, 2019. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

"These courtrooms and chambers will be equipped with the necessary facilities and technology that will allow us to deliver justice in a timely and efficient manner and to meet the demands of an IT-connected community," said Justice See.

In the pipeline are a resource management system that can deploy court interpreters in real-time according to their language and dialect proficiencies, as well as a system that transcribes court proceedings instantly and allows parties to access the transcripts on computer screens.

The Court Tower will be connected to the Office Tower by 39 link bridges.

Energy-saving technology has also been incorporated into the design of the towers, such as solar panels and rainwater harvesting.

In 2011, expansion plans for the current octagonal-shaped courthouse were mapped out as the caseload and the functions of the State Courts increased over the years.

The ground-breaking ceremony was held in May 2014 and the construction of the superstructure - the part that is above ground level - began in March 2017.

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