Vidak to attend Hanford court groundbreaking

Andy Vidak (R-Hanford) represents California's 16th Senate district.Andy Vidak (R-Hanford) represents California's 16th Senate district.State Sen. Andy Vidak is scheduled to be in his hometown of Hanford today to witness the groundbreaking of Kings County's new courthouse.

Vidak will take part in a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Kings County Superior Courthouse beginning at noon at the project site, 1640 Kings County Drive.

The four-story, 142,000 square-foot courthouse is being built to consolidate court operations currently spread out at four separate buildings in the city's downtown government center along Lacey Boulevard.

When complete, the courthouse will feature 10 courtrooms, a large jury room, parking for more than 100 vehicles and a full-height atrium and a lobby waiting area with a skylight letting in natural light.

The courthouse will be built using recycled, green, and regionally sourced materials.

Shading devices and new glass technologies will also mitigate the summer heat and a tunnel will be constructed leading directly to the nearby jail through which inmates can be safely transported back and forth.

Expected to cost around $92 million, the project is one of six throughout the state still fortunate enough to maintain funding from the SB 1407 court-user fee program of 2008 after state budget shortfalls caused nearly two dozen others to be delayed or cancelled over the last year.

Sundt Construction of Tempe, Ariz., is expected to wrap up construction on the new building in November 2015 with staff and furnishings moving in around January the following year.

It will be a busy day for Vidak, who is attending the ceremony following a tour of the Del Monte Foods plant in Hanford, one of Kings County's largest employers.

Located at 10652 Jackson Ave., the plant currently employs 300 full-time employees and 1,200 workers during the peak production season.

They help in processing 425,000 tons of tomatoes into more than 20 million cases of finished goods during a typical 80-day season.

The product is still distributed under the Contandina name along with S&W and Del Monte's own brand.

The plant was built in 1976 by Contadina Foods and was later acquired in 1997 by Del Monte, which consolidated its fresh tomato production to the facility the following year.