Cardin plans hearing on federal courthouse
Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, a member of the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee, has scheduled a hearing this week in Baltimore’s Garmatz Federal Courthouse to draw attention to longstanding safety and architectural concerns in federal court buildings.
The Garmatz courthouse, which opened in 1976, has been criticized for years for flimsy construction, small rooms and, according to a 1996 story in The Sun, poorly ventilated bathrooms. Baltimore had been slated for a new courthouse – which officials anticipated would be completed in 2010 – but the project was ultimately put off.
The courthouse was named for a former congressman, Democrat Edward A. Garmatz, who was indicted on bribery charges but later cleared. Construction began in 1973, a time of high inflation that forced contractors to scale back the design and rely on cheaper building materials.
Witnesses at the hearing, which will take place at the courthouse at 2 p.m. Thursday, will include Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz, among others.