District Court to move to Gualo Rai Monday


File photo taken in July 2017 shows the former CMS premises in Gualo Rai being cleared for the U.S. Courthouse building project in Garapan. Other photo shows the completed state-of-the-art U.S. Courthouse building. (FERDIE DE LA TORRE)

U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona ordered yesterday that the court will be closed for business today, Friday, for court staff to relocate to the new U.S. Courthouse in Gualo Rai.

Manglona said the District Court will resume operations on Monday, July 27, at the new courthouse, with the address 1671 Gualo Rai Road.

The judge said the drop box at the Office of the Clerk of Court at the Horiguchi Building will not be available.

“All filings must be submitted electronically in CM/ECF by registered users on this day. During the closure, you may call 670-237-1200 for assistance with any court emergency,” Manglona said.

Construction of the state-of-the art U.S. Courthouse building has been completed, more than two years since the project broke ground on Dec. 7, 2017.

The project is composed of a 53,000 square-foot three-story courthouse with a basement and two adjoining commercial buildings. The courthouse includes one courtroom, two judges’ chambers, a jury assembly room and office space for building tenants.

The original target completion date was third quarter of 2019. But many factors such as Super Typhoon Yutu delayed the construction.

The U.S. General Services Administration awarded a 20-year lease to Marianas Management Corp. for the construction of the building. GSA said the lease will cost approximately $2.4 million annually.

Developer MMC is a subsidiary of Joeten Enterprises Inc.

When the District Court for the NMI opened its doors in 1978, it was a poolside suite at the Saipan InterContinental Hotel, now the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan. The District Court later moved to the Nauru Building (now the Marianas Business Plaza) in Susupe.

The District Court eventually moved into the new courthouse at the current location at the Horiguchi Building in Garapan in 1991.

Seven years later, in the wake of the Oklahoma City federal courthouse bombing, a Federal Assessment Board determined that the current courthouse is the least safe courthouse in the nation. As a result, the GSA decided to build a new federal building on Saipan.

Future World Corp. (Guam) was the contractor of the project.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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