'Flag Walk' serves as ceremonial move to new federal courthouse

New courthouse, housing 250 employees from 11 agencies, set to open Nov. 5

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April 1, 2014 | 1:50 am

Thursday marks a literal and a symbolic step forward in the construction of the new federal courthouse in Cedar Rapids.

Court employees organized a "flag walk" to celebrate a long-awaited moment. The ceremony will help mark the beginning of the move into the new federal courthouse in downtown Cedar Rapids.

"This is something we came up with as a court family," Clerk of Court Robert Phelps said Thursday morning. "It will be a fun event to sort of reward the employees and recognize the hard work they've done over the last four years being out here in temporary facilities, keeping the judicial process going while we're waiting for the new courthouse to be built."

Since the flood, the Northern District of Iowa courts of Cedar Rapids have been operating out of a temporary home at 4200 C St. SW, in a building housing former testing labs for FMC Engineering and McLeodUSA in the 1980s and MCI from 1991 to 2008. River water forced the courts out of the old courthouse in downtown, which is now the new city hall building.

Workers took down the flag at the temporary courthouse and walked it 3.5 miles to the new eight-story downtown facility on Seventh Avenue SE. They’ll put the flag up on the new flagpole to mark the beginning of the moving process.

In all, about 250 government employees that make up 11 federal agencies will move into the new federal courthouse.

Construction started on the building more than three years ago. The project manager said 99 percent of the work is complete. Construction crews are adding the finishing touches.

"We still have security work going on, a lot of electrical connections, little things. The last one percent of the project is always fairly complicated,” said U.S. General Services Administration Project Manager James Snedegar.

People will see some changes on the outside of the building next week, when landscaping begins. The new federal courthouse opens to the public Monday, Nov. 5.

GALLERY: Courthouse flag walk in Cedar Rapids

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