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AUSTIN-The new federal courthouse destined for downtown Austin doesn’t have a site yet, but it now has an architect. The General Services Administration today said that Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects of Atlanta will design the building. Mack Scogin will collaborate with Austin’s Page Southerland Page.

The courthouse is to be 195,531 sf, including 55 internal parking spaces, and sit on a square block. The cost is projected at $45 million to $55 million. The 18-month design phase is to begin in March after a site is chosen. Construction of the courthouse should begin in March 2005 and occupied in late 2007.

Leonard Murphy of the GSA’s Fort Worth office tells GlobeSt.com that the search for a block in the CBD continues. Two prospective sites, the current home of one museum and the future home of another, were eliminated after an outcry from the community.

The GSA sifted 30 proposals and narrowed them to six before selecting the Mack Scogin firm in a two-step process. Mack Scogin and Merrill Elam are the firm’s principals.

Officials say the current courthouse at 200 W. Eighth St. is too crowded and a new one is desperately needed.

Buildings designed by Mack Scogin and Merrill Elam include Ohio State University School of Architecture, University of California-Berkeley music library and student housing at Tulane University.

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