HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania, announced on Dec. 9, 2022, that they held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new federal courthouse in Harrisburg.

The Sylvia H. Rambo U.S. Courthouse, located in Midtown Harrisburg, was named after Central Pennsylvania native Honorable Sylvia H. Rambo. According to GSA, Judge Rambo is only the third woman in U.S. history to have a federal courthouse named after her — the last time being a courthouse in Minnesota in 2019, named after Diana E. Murphy.

Rambo was also the first woman chief public defender and judge in Cumberland County and the first woman federal judge for the Middle District.

Groundbreaking for the new federal courthouse began in 2019, and on Friday, officials finally cut the ribbon.

“It’s important for us to be in the city, to be in the capital city. It’s important for the federal court to be a part of that governmental fabric,” said Peter Welsh, clerk of court.

“By being more accessible to the public we serve, I think we instill greater public confidence in the work of the courts and ensure that moving into the future, this courthouse will live up to the emblem on the front door, which is equal justice under law,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin Carlson said.

The new federal courthouse has many features such as eight new courtrooms, 11 chambers, and two GSA Art in Architecture commissioned murals in the courthouse. According to GSA, the two artworks are:

  1. A 250-foot mural called “I Thought of You…the People’s Painting,” which is located front and center in the lobby of the courthouse. The artist’s name is Monique van Genderen and the mural was completed in October 2022.
  2. An eight-painting series called “Trees and Vines,” which will be installed on floors three through ten. On the lower floors, the paintings will be dense with foliage, and as you ascend the building, the foliage clears and an open sky becomes visible. The artist’s name is Claire Sherman and the paintings are expected to be installed in spring 2023.

“The building and its surrounding landscape will be a civic icon and public space that
serves as a catalyst for further revitalization of the area while promoting stronger visual and physical links to the Capitol Complex and the rest of Harrisburg,” Judge Rambo said. “As we gather here today, we commemorate the dedication of this building, as a United States Courthouse, to the ever-vital role that the federal judiciary plays in our democracy.”

The Sylvia H. Rambo Courthouse rests on 4 acres of land at 6th and Reily streets. According to GSA, the new courthouse is going to be home to multiple tenants consisting of:

  • U.S. Courts of Appeals 3rd Circuit
  • Middle District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. Marshals Service
  • U.S. Attorneys
  • U.S. Trustees
  • Homeland Security
  • GSA and Federal Public Defender

The new federal courthouse is expected to be “substantially completed” in winter 2023, according to GSA. Ennead Architects designed the courthouse, Mascaro Construction is the general contractor, and Hill International provided construction management services.